An NGO, Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative (WACI), has called for re-introduction of Cheetahs into the Nigeria’s wildlife, because of their roles in ensuring a healthy ecosystem. Its Executive Director, Ms Adenike Adeiga, made this call at an event marking the 2020 International Cheetahs Day, held at the National Park Headquarters in Abuja on Friday.
Newsmen report that the Day, marked annually on Dec. 4, was founded in 1990 by an American Scientist, Dr Laurie Marker, Executive Director, Cheetah Conservation Fund, to celebrate Cheetahs and raise awareness about the threat of their extinction.
Adeiga said Cheetahs were iconic species that could exude a sense of national pride. She said that demographic and environmental stochasticity, anthropogenic activities and density dependent affluence, had driven Cheetahs to local extinction in the country. Adeiga said that Cheetahs also feed other animals in the ecosystem such as vultures, jackals, beetles and other scavengers by leaving the carcasses of their preys.
She said re-introducing Cheetahs into the wild in a “re-wilding programme” would, therefore, lead to the restoration of viable free-ranging populations of the species in the grasslands of Nigeria. Adeiga added that the re-introduction would also have an umbrella effect in the conservation and protection of many other species within the grasslands ecosystem and habitats.
In an interview with NAN on the sidelines, she said the purpose of the programme was to seek the Federal Government’s approval for their proposal to re-introduce Cheetahs into the ecosystem. Adeiga said the reintroduction proposal was to also raise awareness on the fact that Cheetahs were endangered and could not be found in Nigeria anymore.