The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) says that only about 300 elephants remain in the wildlife in Nigeria.
Mr Oladapo Soneye, Head of Communication, NCF, said this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Ibadan.
Soneye said that the rapidly dwindling number of forest elephants in Nigeria had made it imperative for all stakeholders to scale up the protection of the world’s largest living land animal.
“Two subspecies of the African elephants with an estimated population of about 300 individuals are currently living in the wildlife in Nigeria.
“The forest elephants occupy the lowland tropical forests of Southern Nigeria, while the Savannah elephants make use of the vast woodland/grassland ecosystems, north of the country, mostly in protected areas.
“The population of forest elephants are in dire need of protection in Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, while the NCF and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have spearheaded the protection of elephants in the country, there is the need for collaborative support and public awareness to protect them from extinction.
“The increasing interests and supports from corporate institutions towards sustainable practices and actions have added to the expansion of conservation influence in Nigeria.
“Expectedly, these efforts did pay off with the near-zero mortality rate recorded for the elephants in recent times.
“Nevertheless, sustained actions are needed to halt the indiscriminate habitat destruction and human-wildlife conflicts (HWC) triggering unpredictable behaviour and movements of Nigeria’s elephants out of their known home ranges.
“Enhancing civic awareness and galvanising wide-ranging supports for the elephants is visibly the practical pathway to tow,” he said.
Soneye added that there were emerging facts that Nigeria’s elephants needed collaborative engagements to survive beyond this generation. (NAN)