September 29, (THEWILL) – The Nigeria Conservation Foundation and the University of Calabar, have entered into a partnership to preserve the endangered Cross River Gorillas.
The Cross River Gorilla is one of the most endangered species of gorillas in the world and is largely found in the rainforests in Boki, Central Cross River State.
The partnership is also facilitated by the Calgary Zoo in Canada and will have at least five students of the University undergo scholarship in research that fosters community-based efforts in preserving the gorillas.
The MoU for the partnership was signed at the Council Chambers of the institution between the Director General of the NCF, Dr. Joseph Onoja, and the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Florence Obi.
Speaking while signing the MoU, the NCF DG, Joseph Onoja, said they want to connect what is happening in the zoo to what is happening in the wild and also see how they can preserve these species for future generations.
“The Cross River Gorillas is one of the species that is really threatened.
“What is happening in the conservation circle is that we want to connect what is happening at the zoo and what is happening in the wild.
“This is to ensure that people will know that we are trying to preserve a little of what is actually happening in the wild.
“This is why Calgary Zoo approached us and we are also happy to respond to that collaboration.
“We are going to see how we can preserve and conserve the Cross River gorilla and their habitat.
“We need more scientific work to be done, while in doing that we are building the capacity of environmental biologists, so we can continue to bequeath capacity and strength to the upcoming generation, as well as species that would otherwise be extinct,” he said. .
On her part, Professor Florence Obi, the Vice Chancellor, welcomed the partnership with the NCF.
She said the partnership with the NCF dates back to 1991 and they have donated a lot for the University.
She said the institution is ever open and willing to partner more with the NCF.
Giving details of the partnership, Professor Peter Okafor, the Director, External Relations and Partnership in the University, said the partnership is a result of several meetings between the institution, the NCF, and its foreign partners (Calgary Zoo, Canada).
He said as part of the partnership, the NCF has agreed to provide the University with a lot of topics they are interested in exploring, while interested students will develop their concept notes around any of the given topics.
Departments eligible for the scholarships include Environmental Education, Environmental and Resource Management, Forestry and Wildlife Resource Management, Geography and Environmental Sciences, Tourism Studies, as well as Zoology, and Environmental Biology.