By Lazarus Zakaa, Abuja
The Conservator-General (C-G), National Park Service,Dr Ibrahim Musa Goni,has condemned the maltreatment of a stray manatee, an animal found in Delta State, describing it as cruel and barbaric.
Goni made the condemnation in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Yakubu Zull, Media Assistant to the C-G.
He said the herbivorous animal otherwise known as Sea Cow, was seen in a trending video being dragged on the ground in a street in Delta state by some youths.
The C-G said that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified them as vulnerable in the Union’s red-list of threatened species in the World.
He also said that Nigeria’s Endangered Species Amendment Act of 2016 also prohibits the hurting of such species of animals.
“It’s illegal to hunt, capture or trade Manatee in Nigeria, they are endangered species and therefore should be protected as part of our environment.
“The animal was tied and being dragged hard by some people while it struggled, which was really cruel and barbaric”, he said.
He, however, called on the Delta State government to investigate the incidence, arrest and prosecute those behind the cruel act.
“They should be punished so that it would serve as a deterrent to others. The amendment act provides for the punishment of any such offender’’.
He also called for more awareness campaign in the State and the coastal regions across the nation to educate the people on the need to protect endangered species.
“We need a total reorientation of the general public on the need to respect environmental laws, for the good of the environment and humanity.
“Such rare, wild animals are treasured animals and of utmost importance all over the world and special care must be taken to protect them because of their biodiversity and ecological value, to Nigeria and the World at large.
“We must all work together to manage our wildlife to ensure that they do not go extinct, as a result of over-exploitation”, he said.