Elephants: The Jumbo Surprise Outside Nigeria’s Megacity

 

The jungle was so thick that Emmanuel Olabode only found the elephants he was tracking when the great matriarch’s sniffing trunk reached out close enough to almost touch.

“She flapped her ears, blocking us to guard her family, then left in peace,” recalls Olabode. “It was extraordinary.”

The elusive elephants are just 100 kilometres (60 miles) from downtown Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital, home to over 20 million people.

“They are scared of humans,” says Olabode, who leads the Forest Elephant Initiative, a conservation group in the Omo Forest, northeast of Africa’s biggest city. “So they are active at night.”

Forest elephants are the shy relations of their larger savannah cousins and are experts at hiding; so skilled, in fact, very few in the city know about them.

The crowded concrete jungle of Lagos is better known for wild nightlife than nighttime wildlife.

“When people hear about the elephants, they do not believe it,” says Joy Adeosun, a government scientist working with Olabode.

“They are in shock,” adds Adeosun, fixing a motion-sensitive camera that has not only snapped elephants, but antelope, buffalo and chimpanzees too.

Last pristine rainforest

Omo, spreading across some 1,325 square kilometres (510 square miles) of southwestern Ogun state, was protected as a government reserve nearly a century ago.

A UNESCO “biosphere reserve” of global importance, it is one of the last patches of pristine rainforest left in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s deforestation rates are among the highest in the world, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

“Chopping down trees is easy,” says Olabode, whose team of eight community rangers are overstretched.

“But if the forest goes, the whole ecosystem changes. The rains reduce, then the farms lose fertility. Everyone suffers.”

Half of the forest, a 650-square-kilometre (250-sqaure-mile) area, is reserved for wildlife and logging is banned.

But corruption is rampant.

“There are so many trees here,” says Ibiyinka James, on one of dozens of trucks illicitly laden with ancient hardwoods, off to become planks for the booming construction market in Africa’s most populous nation.

“The birds can fly to another forest,” he adds.

And with trees cleared, farmers plant crops.

“I need to provide for my family. What else can I do?”, cocoa grower Christopher Shadrach says, from Ose-Eke, one of the villages hacked out of the reserve, each one home to hundreds of people.

But to the elephants, the crops are tasty treats, which angers forest farmers.

Packed their trunks

Researchers had feared only a handful of elephants were left. Then, in April 2018, the elephants burst out of the jungle.

Drivers slammed on their brakes as herds stampeded across a four-lane highway, with desperate mother elephants trying to smash central barriers for babies to cross, rangers said.

“They were looking for a new home,” Olabode explains, suggesting quarry blasts could have been the final straw.

Many were chased back, although some found a happy hideout even closer to the city.

Olabode now believes there could be a hundred elephants in Omo — but their remarkable survival is under threat like never before as their forest home is in danger.

Africa Nature Investors (ANI), a Nigerian conservation foundation, plans to develop eco-tourism to protect the forest.

“It will provide alternative employment,” says Filip Van Trier, a Belgian businessman brought up in Nigeria, outlining funding proposals he is heading for ANI, including tripling ranger numbers.

“But first we have to stop the logging.”

‘Forests are critical’

At dawn in Omo, monkey chatter echoes across misty treetops.

Then there is the echo of a gunshot, signalling that a hunter is in the forest. Soon after, the whine of chainsaws begins.

Both poachers and ivory dealers risk five years in prison — if laws were enforced.

In 2015, the environment ministry drew up an action plan to protect elephants, vowing to crack down on a “large domestic ivory market.”

Yet in Lagos, in the Jakande craft market in middle-class Lekki, one carver shows off a commission he is making for a “big businessman” — a miniature AK-47 in ivory, the weapon of choice for poachers.

For city businesses, wildlife may not be their first concern, but preserving the jungle and keeping elephants safe is an issue for flood-hit Lagos.

“The forests are critical,” says Shakirudeen Odunuga, of the University of Lagos, who studies how forests stop storm waters surging into low-lying suburbs built on reclaimed swampland.

“We are already experiencing serious flooding.”

The forests, the lungs of Lagos, also bring life-saving rain.

“Without them, the heat would be unbearable,” Odunuga adds.

In Omo, Olabode and his tiny team trek each day through the forests, trying to stop its destruction.

“If we let the forest go, people will say, ‘we should have protected the elephants’,” he says. “But by then, it will be too late.”

AFP

Gov. Ahmed Canvasses Effective Management Of The Environment

Kwara state governor, Ahmed
Gov Ahmed says he won’t tolerate commercial activities that adversely affect the environment.

The Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed has called for effective management of the environment to protect the eco-system and save it from depletion and over-exploitation.

Governor Ahmed made the call when executive members of the Kwara State Forestry Stakeholders Congress led by its president, Abdullahi Agbobamu visited him at the Governor’s Lodge in Ilorin, the state capital.

According to him,” there is a growing concern over poor management of the environment which leads to desertification and depletion of the environment”.

The governor called on the Congress not to engage in acts that could hurt the environment with a view to saving the environment from losing its values.

The governor charged members of the congress to partner with the government in the conservation of the environment and creation of wealth.

“The danger is not in the felling of trees but in not planting more trees to guide against deforestation and desertification.

Efforts must be made by stakeholders and,  in deed,  all Nigerians to protect our environment by embracing the tree planting culture”, the governor said.

The governor promised to support the congress through the micro, small and medium enterprises platforms in order to promote their businesses.

Channels TV Boss, John Momoh Tasks Africa On Climate Change

Climate ChangeThe Chairman/CEO of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh, has drawn the attention of African leaders to the serious dangers of climate change.

This came as the foremost television station affirmed its commitment to re-directing the mind-set of the government to guarding the environment jealously and reducing air and water pollution.

Mr Momoh spoke at the Transcorp Hotel in Abuja on Saturday during the launch of a joint production of an environmental programme by Channels Television and Deutsche Welle Television called [email protected].

The Chairman/CEO of Channels Television, in his short opening remark, emphasised the importance of putting more effort into protecting the environment from further degeneration.

“We are really excited today that we are expanding our coverage footprints to the subject of environment which we all know is under threat. We are also familiar with the issue of global warming which makes Africa’s future less green.

“Indeed Africa is facing a dramatic increase in air and water pollution, drought and wildlife extinction and unless immediate action is taken to clean up the continent’s environment, its future may be bleak,” he said.

Based on findings by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that over the next 30 years, growing populations, wars, climate change and the introduction of alien plants and animal species will increase poverty, destroy the environment and spread disease, Mr John Momoh expressed hope that Nigeria’s Minister for Environment, would get the much needed political support of the government and wide engagement of public, private and civil society institutions and the public in general.Eco@Africa-launch-Channels-TV-DW

On the production of [email protected], he said, “This partnership couldn’t have been more timely. It comes at a time when the government is focusing intensely on taking decisive steps towards implementing our environment policy process.

“So we are right on queue with the launch of [email protected] and we are right on queue with DW.

“We at Channels are very proud to be collaborating with DW in this production and together we’ll use the programme to assist in providing direction on the continent’s intended action to address environmental issues affecting its people and the economy.”

The launch follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Chairman of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh and DW’s Director General, Peter Limbourg in Paris in 2015.

Also speaking at the launch, the Director-General of Deutsche Welle Television, Mr Peter Limbourg, also expressed hope that the initiative would make a huge impact on Africa and Europe’s efforts on the environment.

He revealed that it was the first time that DW in over 60 years of its existence would produce a magazine with another TV channel in the world with both sides contributing.

He acknowledged the importance of Nigeria in the African continent in terms of its population, culture and wealth of human resources.

Speaking on the collaboration with Channels TV, he said, “What brings us together is that we both have high journalistic standards, we both are professionals and we are dedicated to the subjects; not only selling things, we are interested in the world.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister of the Environment, who was represented by Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Bukar Hassan, said that the federal government has endorsed [email protected]

He said that with partnerships such as Channels TV and DW’s the country would do everything to have a more sustainable environment.

[email protected] will report on innovations and best-practice guidelines in Africa and Europe and will present ideas on environmental protection from all over the world.

It will focus on the preservation of biological diversity, the utilization of national resources, energy sources of tomorrow and the mobility of the future.

The magazine is designed to be interactive; readers will be able to contribute their own ideas by uploading stories, photos and videos to social media.

Channels TV, DW TV Launch Environmental Programme, [email protected]

Eco@AfricaChannels Television in conjunction with Deutsche Welle Television has launched a joint production of an environmental programme called [email protected] at the Transcorp Hotel in Abuja at 6:00pm on Saturday.

[email protected] will report on innovations and best-practice guidelines in Africa and Europe and will present ideas on environmental protection from all over the world.

It will focus on the preservation of biological diversity, the utilization of national resources, energy sources of tomorrow and the mobility of the future.

The magazine is designed to be interactive; readers will be able to contribute their own ideas by uploading stories, photos and videos to social media.

Today’s launch follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Chairman of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh and DW’s Director General, Peter Limbourg in Paris last year.

Speaking on our breakfast show, Sunrise this morning, the Director General of DW, Peter Limbourg said that the programme is a massive one and the door is open for countries with like minds.

Join us on Channels TV on Saturdays at 16:30 WAT and on DW on Saturdays at 06:30, 14:30 and 20:30 UTC, Mondays at 11:30 UTC.

The presenter of [email protected] is Nneota Egbe, a graduate of geography, who has spent the past seven years as an anchor, reporter and producer for Channels Television in Lagos, Nigeria.

[email protected] Debuts On Channels Television

Eco@Africa[email protected], a new programme which showcases innovative environmental concepts from Africa and Europe is launching on Channels Television and Deutsche Welle.

Co-produced by Deutsche Welle in Berlin and Channels TV in Nigeria, [email protected] brings together two broadcasters committed to creating a platform to showcase cutting-edge green ideas from their respective continents.

The programme presents innovative and inspiring ideas from the fields of conservation, science, art, mobility and more.

It will also move viewers and users to get on board or launch an environmental project of their own.

Join us on Channels TV on Saturdays at 16:30 WAT and on DW on Saturdays at 06:30, 14:30 and 20:30 UTC, Mondays at 11:30 UTC.

The presenter of [email protected] is Nneota Egbe, a graduate of geography, who has spent the past seven years as an anchor, reporter and producer for Channels Television in Lagos, Nigeria.

He has worked on a variety of different shows covering current affairs, cultural and environmental topics.

He has long been concerned about the environment. As the face of [email protected], he believes it is important to live with an awareness of green issues and strives to ensure his actions help protect our natural world.

He greatly enjoys spending time outdoors, is an avid cook and photographer, and has even been known to turn his hand to making clothes. Besides his television work, he volunteers for several non-governmental and humanitarian organizations.