Preserving African Wildlife for future generations

I have come to realisation that unless the converted and the congregation can manage to be at the same level of understanding or close on the subject matter at hand, it is very difficult to enforce any new rules.

My father is a hunter. He is the type we call squirrel hunter, because of my father’s hunting skill, I knew a bit about our local wild animals from squirrel to the poor pangolin that was caught in a trap and still rolled up until my father gets to the village, our co-tenant older than me was as excited to see a life pangolin as much as I was – now pangolins too unsurprisingly are critically endangered.

The first time I saw a life elephant was outside of Nigeria, I am not alone. Actually, my over 70-year-old parents have never set their eyes on life elephants apart from the ones on TV and in books. Although Yoruba would say Ode Aperin – Elephant Hunters to include in narratives of hunters of the past years and their powerful hunting skills that suggests there used to be a time that elephants were not as rear to find as it is today.

It is fascinating learning about our wild animals and because I am aware of how much we eat just about anything with fur/scales, I know too well that hunting for certain endangered animals will continue unless the locals are actively involved. One way of achieving this is through education and presenting facts of the past compared to reality of today to the citizens.

You can imagine my excitement when I came across The Omo-Shasha-Oluwa Forest Elephant Initiativeseems message is trickling down somehow but more need to be done.  Yankari Game Reserve, Bauchi is another place to spot African elephant in Nigeria only that it is not for shallow-pocketed individuals.

There is a lot of explanation why Africans poach for ivory, common reason is poverty, how can we get locals involved to maximise the efforts being put into preserving elephant future on the continent? For most of these farmers, lets face it, this is their God-given source of income and would only stop if the risks involved outweigh the benefits.

Having said that on the continent now is more pressing issue of terrorism. Even the poor would give up the last piece of their bread if they were shown how ivory trade has contributed to financing unrest in the region.

I think this video would do a lot to support the drive to discourage locals from continued hunting for ivory, the message is too important to disregard, now than any other time. Many thanks to the team at  for creating this video.


This article is a good read detailing reality of ivory trading around the world.


18 thoughts on “Preserving African Wildlife for future generations

  1. Nigeria has game reserves, but they are not well managed.
    The Kainji reserve is almost bereft of wildlife due to poaching. The Old Oyo reserve the same.

    There are 3, which are very rich, Gashaka-Gumpti (Taraba state), Yankari (Bauchi) and Cross-River National park (Cross River has one of the richest biomes in Africa, all along the Eastern flank of the country)
    They have Okomu in Edo state, but that is slowly being eroded.
    I do hope that the Omo-Shasha reserve gathers steam, why must one travel all the way to Central, Southern of Eastern Africa to view unspoiled landscape, when it exists in the country?
    Nigeria is the only country in West Africa to have gorillas and mandrills? Many people didn’t know that. Mandrills only occur along the southern Nigeria-Cameroon frontier. Yet if they were found in some other African country, people would be going there to view them.
    We must value and respect what we have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only got to know about Yankari while researching for this piece, can’t even believe we have that much elephants left.

      To appreciate all this preservation, we need a shift in our conversation so people can appreciate and join in the effort.

      At the moment, the mentality is that wild animals were there to be eating. I think my people can understand the concept of preserving and appreciating wild animals but before then, we need to raise awareness in a gentle and persistent way.


  2. Not really sure what a ‘pangolin’ is, have to ‘Google’ it in a minute knew you’d be an animal rights person, and good on you! I have joined (25 years ago actually) WWF in large part because of one of Attenborough’s documentaries on their approaching disappearance , thanks to the ivory trade. I worked incredibly hard lobbying – yes Folakemi, I actually did (back in the day) WORK – congress and wrote letters and gave little speeches trying to galvanize people and get them to appreciate the fact that Africa and African wildlife mattered more than just backdrops for a teddy Roosevelt types to go and participate in staged killings – you couldn’t really call what they did hunting (not like a certain squirrel hunter/killer I heard of) and even now, I still try to do my part to alert the world that poaching and slaughtering is still rampant in Kenya and Tanzania and hell, even in parts of India! The Omo-Shasha-Oluwa initiative is on my list of causes for 2015 (good on you for your participation as well) the level of involvement of the local populace can be traced to any of a number of reasons/factors, poverty, granted, being chief among them and as such can not easily be stopped, nor, in my opinion, should it be criminalizes, as you point out, terrorism is a far more potent and immediate danger to the populace than elephant (and other african wildlife) poaching/killing is and, sadly, be closer to the bottom of the priority list of Goodluck, Mugabe and their brethren. (Yes, those two despots were singled out for reasons you already know)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s impressive the work you have participated in – see I knew all along that there is no way you could have been in the same league with your dear friend.

      Now you have two reasons to visit Nigeria, to visit the Grove at Osogbo and the Omo-Sasha-Oluwa Initiative, not far apart.

      If Rocky could run away from squirrel, then no way will I say what happened to that pangolin nor the process.

      I really do believe that my people could change attitude towards hunting endangered animals if handled in the right way. People representing locally needed not to intimidate or do the big man speaking grammar. For example, the amount of awareness raised for Ebola is unprecedented in Nigeria, the announcement was constant and updated very frequently – it worked so can other projects, abi?


  3. I used to admire your father, thought he was one very cool dude, a serious african ‘O.G.’ Then you admitted this: “my father is a hunter. He is the type we call a SQUIRREL HUNTER” My little friend ‘Rocky’ fled to the basement after hearing me read that, his eyes filled with trembling fear for his Nigerian brethren, while wondering why he didn’t feed you and your siblings chicken!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, please get Rocky out, he need not worry. He just needed to be educated a little bit about life in the village, I bet he’d do the same if didn’t know any better.

      Squirrel Hunter is actually a phrase that suggest hunters that only hunt for small animals. Some animals like grasscutters are notorious for damaging crops especially maize so the only way to be sure you have something to harvest is to set traps for those – maybe not very nice but that is the way things are and will continue until there is alternative way to be sure crops were protected without killing those guys.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Do you think Africans will listen to reason and stop killing animals? They will always find means of killing many for their feed and others for nothing. Here in Ghana, those who live near the game reserves kill elephants for their skins and meat. What cruelty? When you know they are animals we are preserving. Some go as far as using charms to hunt i the reserves, hoping the charms will protect them from being caught. Those are some dark African minds. Sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do believe Africans can significantly the hunting for ivory but not without getting the locals involved. One thing that we always do is underestimate how resistance people can be especially the villagers. If you give them reasons such as elephants were going to be extinct or that Chinese were this and that for having strange taste for ivory products – it will be so what?

      This video hits home because even the bush people can watch online clips today and relate with the content.

      I don’t think we are more resistance to change than say the westerners only that their government invest huge amount to educate people on any major changes but in our case we just wanted to force it down on people’s throat assuming it will go down.


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