With the dwindling population of migratory birds, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has called for their protection.
The group also advised the Federal Government to promote eco-tourism through bird watching.
NCF technical lead, Dr. Joseph Onoja, made the call during the virtual commemoration of the World Migratory Birds Day organised by the Foundation in Lagos. The celebration featured activities such as a virtual tour, bird watching tips, a quiz competition, and migratory birds video.
Migratory birds face a number of problems, which include habitat loss, and degradation, pollution, illegal trade, and ruthless hunting.
Dr. Onoja explained that Nigeria could join the league of nations such as Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa, which are earning millions of dollars yearly from bird watching if the authorities maintain natural habitats for birds across the country.
He stated that although birds have no definite habitat, they are attracted to places where the eco-systems have not experienced much human interference.
“As the nation explores opportunities of diversifying the economy outside oil which is no longer sustainable, eco-tourism is one area with enormous prospects to turn around the economy for good,” he said.
He said that when rich eco-tourism sites attract migratory birds, other wild animal and plant species, the nation would witness an influx of tourists.
Essentially, he said apart from promoting eco-tourism businesses, bird watching should be encouraged as it helps humans to connect with nature aside from being a great way of catching fun and relaxing.
According to him, urgent measures should be taken to ensure that the environments are conducive enough for the birds and that the killing or hunting of birds for sacrificial purposes and eating must be legislated against.
Also speaking, World Wildlife Fund, (WWF)-Pakistan’s Technical Advisor Mohammad Moazzam Khan, stated that birds bring nature, and people together, emphasising that significant efforts should be made to revive dwindling populations.
He pointed out that, “Climate change was also affecting bird migration. Wintering birds started arriving in October every year. However, for the past few years, birds have arrived in November. It seems that the migration trends of birds are changing and the duration of these birds staying in Pakistan has decreased substantially,” he said.
Khan stressed the need for the protection of cranes in Lasbela and Zhob, which seem to be the last haven for these birds.