David Young, United States deputy chief of mission, has urged Nigerians to help stop the trafficking and habitat destruction of many endangered native species.

According to Young, the endangered species include the Cross River gorilla and Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee.

Young made this statement on Friday at an event jointly organised by the US consulate general Lagos and the Lekki conservation centre in commemoration of world wildlife day.

He welcomed actions by the government to adopt legislation against trafficking of endangered animals.

He also spoke about the economic benefits of sustainable ecotourism and the potential socio-economic impact continued wildlife trafficking could have on Nigeria.

“Sustainable ecotourism is important to many nations of Africa, creating numerous tourism sector jobs. Conserving natural resources is vital. If Nigeria loses its precious large apes and other mammals, ecotourism revenue and jobs disappear with these animals.

“Communities and individuals have the most important role to play. Communities and consumers can refuse to do business with illicit traders and poachers.

“In the social media age, everybody has an ability to hold people accountable for what is happening – documenting the dangers, and joining together for action. So I urge you take up the challenge to preserve your forests, and the wildlife that depend on the remaining forests to survive,” Young said.

On December 20, 2013, the United Nations general assembly proclaimed March 3 as UN world wildlife day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.



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