A Professor of microbiology and chairperson, Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Nigerian Environmental Society, Comfort Etok, proffered what she described as environmental and cost-saving solutions to the menace of illegal wildlife trade in the country.

She said the menace could be checked through the provision of incentives to the local communities to conserve wildlife in their area, setting up of more national, private and community based parks and partnership with non-governmental organisations to create awareness on wildlife conservation.

Speaking in Uyo at an event to mark the 2016 World Environment Day, themed ‘Fight against illegal trade in wildlife,’ Etok, who is the chairperson of the University of Uyo’s Table Water Management Committee, identified overhunting or over-harvest of wildlife reserves for food, fashion and profit as the major threats to wildlife conservation.

She was, in a statement on Friday, quoted as saying that  these practices result in habitat destruction through uncontrolled logging, oil spills, highway and urban development, exploitation for fuel wood, degradation, fragmentation, invasion of non-native species, pollution, climate change and their attendant adverse environmental effects on humans, flora and fauna.

While lamenting that most of the tropical rainforest that harboured chimpanzees, gorillas, lions, forest elephants and others were lost to unfriendly environmental practices, she called for strict adherence to wildlife laws, international treaties, adequate funding, public support and strong enforcement to existing legal provisions to check wildlife excesses in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria.

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