It was a very special time for us as we celebrated #WorldPangolinDay2023! Prof. Morenikeji gave the first lecture, highlighting the vision, operations and achievements of the Pangolin Conservation Guild Nigeria.
Our guest speakers were Mrs. Abimbola Animashaun- Isafiade, Officer in Charge of Nigeria Customs Service Special Wildlife Office; Joseph Kruzich, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate General Lagos; Mr. Elijah Nelson Udofia, the Zonal Director South West of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA); and Dr, Oliver Stolpe, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) representative in Nigeria. They did not only deliver excellent lectures but also provided participants with relevant information about their operation and contributions to the conservation of pangolins over the years. Their commendation and review of our works so far were soothing, and indeed we are challenged to do more! The goal of the conservation of the pangolins goes beyond just a short time period, indeed, it is transgenerational. We want the coming generations to be blessed with the presence of diverse wildlife species. In pursuit of that vision, we have taken it upon ourselves to always involve the younger ones in our programs, as they are the future and indeed the future is now! With that in mind, we had students from several secondary schools within and outside Ibadan. They made presentations on the pangolin, which came in different forms, including poems, speeches and drama. We were highly impressed by their level of creativity and passion for conservation of pangolins. They were attentive during the lectures too and we are convinced that they went home with a simple but convincing message which is that the pangolins need to be saved! Their presentations were graded by the panel of judges and winning schools were awarded gifts. Conservation is all-inclusive and indeed everyone has a role to play. We were privileged to host the representatives of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Immigration Services, National Park Service, Nigeria Custom Service, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Nigeria Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), One Health Development Initiative (OHDI), Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative (WACI), Nigerian Association of Zoological Gardens and Wildlife Parks (NAZAP), Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF), Wildlife Society of Nigeria (WISON), as well as other guests, spread across non-governmental organisations, the academia and other dignitaries. The media was well represented by several television, print and radio media representatives. We were also entertained by a Yoruba cultural group, preaching the conservation of Pangolins in local chants, songs, dances and displays. It was simply beautiful! Now, there was a creamy icing on our cake at the event as *Smart* graced the #WPD2023 celebration. Smart is our latest rescued pangolin and he was carefully aided to the venue by our Vet team. We believe Smart made history today as many participants, especially the young people at the event saw a pangolin for the first time.
It keeps getting better over the years, and as we look forward to the next World Pangolin Day, we keep working, canvassing and saving the pangolin. We encourage you to join us as this is a collective responsibility and together, we achieve more!
We thank all our partners and supporters for their unwavering support and we look forward to doing more together.