WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AND GAME MANAGEMENT LAWS. THEORETICAL ISSUES AND EMPIRICAL EVIDENCES IN NIGERIA BY ADENIYI OLATUNBOSUN ， PhD FACULTY OF LAW OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY ILE-IFE NIGERIA. Introduction.
THEORETICAL ISSUES AND EMPIRICAL
EVIDENCES IN NIGERIA
FACULTY OF LAW
OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY
Wildlife serves an important role in maintaining the balance of various ecosystems. The universe is replete with indices of immeasurable contributions that wildlife species have made to human development in virtually all countries of the world. Human beings have profitably utilized several kinds of animal species for traction, power generation, clothing, research, medicine, sports, tourism and entertainment. In spite of these innumerable pleasure mankind derive from wildlife resources, man´s inhumanity to animal species remain unceasing and unabated. Thus, these human activities such as bush burning, damming rivers, draining swamps, environmental pollution, hunting and poaching are threatening their existence.
While many are endangered species as seriously threatened thereby requiring human protection for survival. Realizing the harmful effects of these developments to its environment, Nigeria has put in place legal and institutional frameworks to protect both fauna and flora species from genetic extinction through enactment of municipal laws on the
1SeeSarojini T.Ramalingam: .Ecological Management in Modern Biology, Africana First Publishers Limited, Onitsha, Nigeria, 2008 )pp160
In the Conservation of wildlife, their habitants, parks, reserves and sanctuaries are protected by Laws. Thus, most human activities such as grazing of minimizing are restricted of prohibited. The enabling Laws only allow recreational activities such as nature walks and bird watching. Towards compliance with these regulations, institutional bodies were set up to manage parks and reserves. In Nigeria, we have the Borgu and Yankari game Reserves, which serve as the habitants for many threatened and endangered animals to live, breed and build up their numbers.
Its main responsibility is to concentrate on conserving endangered species in their habitats. Closely related is the international legal framework a containedin the convention on International Trade in endangered species or CITES, Which protects many endangered or threatened Animals and Plants.
Conservation plays great scientific value, as it allows opportunity to study living organizations in their habitants.
6The National Parks and game reserves in Nigeria attract tourists form all parts of the world.
An aspect of legal framework that is of high interest is the concept of property and ownership of animals6. The key issue is on the problem of ownership of wild animals. If wildlife were recognized as common property
Although, under a qualified property in living wild animals, such animals are classified as the property if any person who captures, takes, tames, or reclaims than until these animals escape or regain their natural beauty. The fact remains that states assume ownership of wildlife.
Under the Roman and English laws, wild animals are nullius bonis (the property of no one) and regarded as common property. The law recognizes certain forms of private rights over animals that have been captured, confined or granted.
The question of ownership of wildlife in hyena is vested in both federal and state governments because wildlife exists in both territories.
Similarly other relevant legislation are the Endangered Species (International Trade and Traffic) Act and the Animal Diseases (Control) Act enacted in respect of matters which are within the exclusive legislative list.
The increasing trend and pattern of climate change has serious apoedyptic implication on the environment including man, plant and animals. Also, the increasing rate of poverty is a major challenge of wildlife conservation and management in Nigeria. In many villages, women make their living on felling of trees for firewood,
Environment predation arising from spread of waste and the destruction of nature result in habitat loss, fragmentation of forests, thorn Serb, cone reefs, conversion of rivers inimical effects on the sustenance of wild resources that often lead to extraction of many species of plants and animals. The increasing pressure of population growth and economic development often necessitate modification of land scrape by clearing, draining,
According to Miller (1979), of the 500 million species of plants and animals on earth, only abut 2 millon are in Nigeria Also in Nigeria animal species such as white elephant, the buffalo are nearing extinction due to the catastrophic effect of deforestation and desertification
The existing Nigerian conservation laws broadly cover many aspects of wildlife and game management conservation; such as forestry, national parks, wild animal and endangered species preservation, fisheries laws, agricultural seeds, crop varieties and livestock breads, agriculture laws, water Resources laws etc. The Regulatory agencies such as the federal Environmental Protection Commission, the environmental impact assessment Commission , the urban and regional planning agency and many state environmental protection agencies have been established to strengthen
Conservation of natural resources improves the quality of human life by enabling mankind to live in a clean and healthy environment, while at the same time, within reasonable limits, energy and material needs of the society are met.
Conservation preserves the beauty of nature with the creation of severe scenery such as water falls, lakes and the mountains as well as fascinating assemblage of varieties of wild animals. The enabling environment of national parks and game reserves in the country provides outdoor recreational activities like nature walks, bird watching camping and picnics for tourists and fun seekers .
Nigeria’s environment is threatened through various activities of the citizens in spite of considerable national and international laws regulating biodiversity conservation. A number of studies and surveys have been carried out on the Nigerian environment and natural resources conservation. Similarly, a considerable number of workshops and seminar have been organized by stakeholders on the implementation of the policy on biodiversity convention in Nigeria. Thus, within the framework of legal instruments considerably some provisions have been put in place in the conservation of wildlife and game management.
Africa is endowed with variety of plants and animal species, which ought to serve as a veritable source of wealth, if they are well conserved and preserved for tourism purposes.
Time has come for African nations like Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia and South African endowed with abundant and varied fauna to realize and appreciate the value and contribution of wild creatures to biodiversity and environmental living conditions of mankind.
The abundant tourism potentials abound nation wide with the natural feature such as lowering mountains beaches, waterfalls, museums, game reserves and National Parks.