The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), has seized some endangered birds from illegal traders and warned against trading in wild animals and keeping them as pets.
The Director-General of NESREA, Prof. Aliyu Jauro who gave the warning during the raid carried out against illegal wildlife traders on Thursday in Jabi, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, said a total of 25 birds—including 20 parrots, four kites and one crown bird—were seized from the traffickers and handed over to the National Park.
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He said there is provision for first time offenders to be fined and second time offenders will be sentenced and jailed.
He said: “This is a warning to those who engage in this to desist because we will continue to go after them and apprehend them. It is dangerous living with some of these animals as pets because a lot of diseases today are attributed to them.”
“Why catch a wild animal and keep it at home? They are supposed to remain in the wild,” the Director General said.
While noting that the essence of the enforcement was to protect animal species, particularly those that are endangered to prevent them from going extinct, he said trafficking in wildlife would give Nigeria a bad name in the global community.
“These species are going to be hostile. It is also very dangerous interacting with them because we get a lot of diseases. So most of the diseases we suffer nowadays are contracted from these wildlife animals,” the DG said.
He said there were also some monkeys, but they couldn’t be confiscated because the cages they were kept couldn’t be moved, adding that the agency will confiscate them later.
Prof Jauro said the culprits were aware that the business was illegal as they have always sensitised them, adding that, “We have been carrying out this fight right before this time, so they are very aware.”
“Nigeria is found to be a transit hub used by these traffickers as some of these wildlife do not originate from Nigeria. If the enforcement against the illegal trade is not carried out, it may lead to selling to people who might want to take them abroad without permit which is contrary to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).”
Species of animals seized by the agency are those listed in Schedule I of the Act and Appendix I of CITES which are prohibited.