By Ayo Akinfe
(1) Noah is the world’s first known animal conservationist. Bless the great man’s soul for his attempts to preserve as many animal species as possible. Obviously, some species did not survive his bold initiative but why should we not continue from where he left off?
(2) Do you know that Adamawa and Taraba states still contain wildlife we do not know about? I suspect there may even still be some other human groups living there who have not made contact with the outside world. What I am proposing is we create a massive wildlife park known as Noah’s Ark Sanctuary straddling both states and make it the world’s latest conservation settlement
(3) Just imagine having 10,000 square kilometres of uninhabited wild country where we could allow animals to multiply, free from the meddling intervention of man. We can manage this in Adamawa/Taraba because between the two states, they have 90,000 square kilometres of land
(4) You know what inspired me to think of this? Well, by the early 1970’s the Arabian oryx was extinct in the wild. By now, it would have been forgotten about as a creature that once lived but the oryx was saved in zoos and private preserves. After populations increased the oryx was reintroduced into the wild starting in 1980. Today, it is thriving again
(5) Where Nigeria is most and totally embarrassing is with her national animal the eagle. This is supposed to be our emblem, yet we have no eagle sanctuaries in Nigeria, keep no data on populations and to add insult to injury do not even mention what species of eagle it is that is native to Nigeria. See how other countries worship their national animals like the kangaroo, kiwi, bison, beaver, gazelle, springbuck, etc
(6) Given the number of animals threatened with extinction worldwide, why are we not opening our doors to them?
(7) What makes that Taraba/Adamawa corridor unique is that it offers a mixture of climates ranging from tropical rain forest to Sudan savannah. It can thus be home to forest animals like ourang outangs and savannah beasts like baboons at the sane time
(8) Now, I want to go to town here and use this opportunity to introduce animals not native to West Africa into Nigeria. I will go beyond importing savannah animals from East and Southern Africa to going global and attracting the likes of kangaroos from Australia, llamas from Bolivia and ourang outangs from Malaysia. During the colonial era, missionaries did this brilliantly with both plants and animals
(9) With many countries running out of land for animals to roam in the wild, it is actually in their interest to cooperate with Nigeria on this project. Very soon, Malaysia and Indonesia will have no rain forest left and the ourang outang will become just as threatened as the Siberian and Bengal tiger
(10) Below are 10 animals I would open my Nigerian Noah’s Ark Sanctuary with:
(6) Ourang outang
(8) Wild dogs
(9) Martial Eagle