Nigeria and China are to strengthen bilateral relations to tackle illegal wildlife trade in line with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The Minister of Environment, Dr Mahmood Abubakar, noted that there is need for the two countries to work to address the cancerous issue of illegal international wildlife trade, which traffickers have exploited and thus exposed the nations to unwholesome practices.
The minister, who stated this on Tuesday in Abuja when representatives of Chinese CITIES Management Authority (CMA) paid a visit to the ministry, said they frowned at such as nation and defenders of endangered species.
Speaking, Minister of State for Environment, Barr Sharon Ikeazor, reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to the fight against illegal wildlife trade and the ministry’s role as focal point of CITIES implementation in Nigeria.
She said Nigeria is committed to conserve wild species which were now almost driven into extinction due to over exploitation, habitat change and illicit trafficking.
Nigeria, according to her, established National Parks across the country to safeguard the surviving endangered species and called on the delegation to visit at least one before departing the country to enable them have a firsthand experience on Nigeria’s effort at safeguarding our endangered species.
The Vice Administrator of Chinese National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NAFGA), Li Shumings, assured that more efforts would be made by the Chinese government to prioritise the bilateral relationship in wildlife conservation.
Shuming said the Chinese government is paying more attention to wildlife preservation by setting up the National Park Authority, adding that they have 10 National Parks with about 1,864 pandas and 293 elephants, adding that to strengthen their efforts, they have plans to increase the number in future.