Wildlife Species: Nigeria Advocates Protection Of Global Digital Ecosystem

Group photo of stakeholders at the event in Abuja on Tuesday

By Juliet Ukanwosu

Nigeria has called for protection of the digital ecosystem globally, emphasizing the need to guard against cyber threats and safeguard data integrity on wildlife species.

The call was made in Abuja by the Minister of Environment, Balarabe Abbas Lawal at the commemoration of the 2024 World Wildlife Day with the theme: “connecting people and planet: Exploring Digital Conservation.”

Balarabe stressed that the technological advancement has offered unprecedented opportunities to enhance conservation efforts and forge deeper connections between humanity and the natural ecosystem.

He said “We must recognize the critical importance of leveraging digital solutions to address the myriad of challenges facing our planet’s ecosystems, notably combating illegal wildlife trade, mitigating habitat loss, tackling the impacts of climate.”

He added that by harnessing the collective power of technology, we could unite in our efforts to safeguard biodiversity and ensure a sustainable future for our posterity, while commending the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other development partners for their support towards the fight against wildlife trafficking.

In his presentation of the key findings and recommendations of the International Consortium for Combatting Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit Assessment for Nigeria, the Country Representative of UNODC office, Nigeria, Oliver Stolpe, recalled some of the key findings from the Wildlife Chapter of UNODC’s Organised Crime Threat Assessment for Nigeria published in 2023.

He lamented that research identified armed groups to be involved in the illegal harvesting and trafficking of rosewood, with nine park rangers losing their lives in violent encounters with persons involved in an illegal logging in the Gashaka-Gumti National Park.

“we plan to engage young people as agents of change and employ their creativity as well as technological savviness in helping to protect the environment and to show to Nigerians the beauty of their land,” Stolpe stated.

Earlier in his remarks, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mahmud Kambari tasked participants to reflect on the critical role that wildlife plays in maintaining the delicate balance of our ecosystems and sustaining life on Earth.

He described this year’s world wildlife celebration as apt and in line with global best practices, adding that projects leveraging artificial intelligence, data analytics, and citizen science have enabled us to gather vital information, engage local communities, and implement targeted conservation interventions.

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