Using vulture parts for traditional medicine cause of vultures extinction—-NCF
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has said that the use of vulture body parts for traditional medicine by humans is a major cause for vultures going extinct in Nigeria.
A statement issued in Abuja and signed by Oladapo Soneye, NCF’s Communication Officer, said the NCF’s verdict was the outcome of a stakeholders meeting.
The NCF, according to the statement, said it has deliberately taken steps to reverse the trend of vultures going extinct in Nigeria.
The foundation said that it has also joined the BirdLife Partnership across the globe to curb the global decline in the number of vultures
Dr Joseph Onoja, Director, Technical Programmes, NCF, stressed that the foundation was worried about the deleterious trend on the population of vultures.
Onoja noted that the major cause of vultures depopulation in Nigeria was the traditional medicine and other belief-based uses of vultures body parts, the statement further said.
“Traditional doctors believe a person could get a physical and mental relief from ailment after using the body parts of a vulture.
“Traditionalists believe that vultures can be used for ritual rites for cure of evil attack, their eggs used for money making ritual, vultures are also hunted for domestic food and good protein supplement.
“Engaging hunters, medicine men and sellers to look for alternatives like plants will go a long way in improving the population of Vultures in Nigeria,” the statement quoted Onoja as saying.
According to the statement, Owolabi Ayobami, a lecturer, Osun State University, Oshogbo, said the population of vultures in Nigeria was decreasing at an alarming rate.
Ayobami identified factors such as forest fragmentation, deforestation, agriculture, hunting and habitat degradation as some of the factors inhibiting the population of vultures, adding that some are sold for fetish reasons.
“Vultures are irruptive and local migrants in response to food and this exposes them to human induced threats. Vulture population has dropped and gone extinct in some locations.
“It is evident that, intentional poisoning and unintentional poisoning, traditional medicine,
source of income, egg collection, source of protein, cultural beliefs, deforestation, lack of carrions as food, climate change, and modern way of disposing
carcass are the main threats affecting the vulture population in South-West Nigeria, Ayobami was quoted as saying.
The don said that in order to fight the menace of wildlife trade, especially at the local level, conservatives need to develop new strategies that reorganize the forces of traditional beliefs and the institutions that support them in conservation planning.
He also emphasised the importance of reducing the gap, by improving communication lines between conversation policymakers and local communities.
Mr Stephen Awoyemi, who spoke on understanding the role of culture and faith in the African Vulture recovery in Nigeria colloborated Onoja’s submission on the belief-based use of vulture body parts.
Awoyemi of the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, noted that cultural traits to use vultures seem to exist through cultural and religious beliefs passed vertically in families.
“In the Yoruba mythology, the vulture played a redemptive role when there was chaos in the earth in the beginning, making it revered among the Yoruba.
“The ancients proclaimed: “a ki pa igun, a ki je igun, a ki fi igun bori, ”this translates as: “we do not kill the vulture; we do not eat the Vulture and we do not use the vulture as sacrifice to gods to remedy human destiny, ” he said.
It would be recalled that the month of September has been dedicated to addressing the plight of African vulture needs to consider the threat, opportunities and potentials for vultures to thrive in it’s wildlife habitat.