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NESREA rescues the sea cow held captive in Lagos.

NESREA rescues the sea cow held captive in Lagos.

Source: Punch News.

National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency on Saturday rescued a female sea cow also known as manatee, an endangered aquatic mammal held hostage at Epe Lagos.

NESREA, an environmental agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria, in a sting operation alongside researchers from the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, and WildAid rescued the endangered aquatic animal that had been held captive for a month as its captors sought for buyers in the Epe area of Lagos State.

The operation was led by Mrs Aramide Akintola of NESREA with an enforcement team of the Nigerian Police present when the endangered aquatic animal was rescued and released back into the Lekki Lagoon.

Speaking with The PUNCH, Akintola, who is the Lagos Liaison officer of NESREA, lamented the ignorance, especially among locals, on the importance of the conservation of wildlife.

She further described the capturing and selling of endangered animals by locals as “greed for nature.”

She said, “I think the general populace are quite ignorant that their heritage is disappearing and for some people it’s just greed of nature, ‘why are you stopping me from my share of nature?’

“But there are some Nigerians that are well informed, like some people in the conservation and environmental sector, of the need to preserve wildlife.”

Akintola called for an enlightenment of the citizens stating that “The general populace has not been fully enlightened on the need to conserve the environment.”

Researchers from NIOMR, Dr Bolaji Dunsin and Mrs Ronke Adegbile, were also part of the rescue operation.

According to NIOMR, this represents a major milestone for aquatic animals’ rescue in Nigeria as manatees were last rescued by the institute in early 2000s.

Dunsin called for the enforcement of laws that would prevent poachers from hunting endangered animals.

He noted that it takes two years for a female manatee to give birth, while expressing sadness over the rampant poaching of female endangered species of animals.

“It’s something that is long due and should be enforced in Nigeria. Poachers and punters of endangered species are prevalent in our society and we are calling for enforcement to stem the practice,” he said.

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