As Nigerians, it is not uncommon to harbour superstitious beliefs about certain animals for reasons best known to us. Some of us for instance, might have a strong dislike for cats because we were either taught during our childhood or grew up with a mindset that cats are synonymous with witches (AKA village people). Certain species of birds like the Owl are also dreaded for their looks or the sounds they make and various superstitious beliefs are built around them.
Unfortunately, such animals are easily killed by those who harbour various superstitious beliefs about them for fear of the “bad omen” they bring with them. It is no wonder that a research Falcon said to have flown all the way from Finland to Nigeria, met its death in Delta State where it was sighted.
The Peregrine Falcon was reportedly killed in Ofagbe, a town in Delta State, by residents who thought it was a witch only to later discover that it was a research bird from Finland. The residents realised their mistake after reading a tag that was attached to the body of the Falcon. The tag reads: “Museum 200L Helsinki Finland.”
Situations such as this, call for a lesson on the need for wildlife conservation in this part of the world. According to National Geographic, “wildlife conservation is the practice of protecting plant and animal species and their habitats.” There are several reasons why we need to protect animals; not only is it beneficial to us as humans, it also benefits the ecosystem as a whole.
“As part of the world’s ecosystems, wildlife provides balance and stability to nature’s processes.” And “the goal of wildlife conservation is to ensure the survival of these species, and to educate people on living sustainably with other species.” – National Geographic.
In addition to this, wildlife conservation is a source of revenue for the tourism sector. But, despite being in the savannah that is replete with diverse species of animals that could boost revenue from tourism, our superstitious beliefs and ignorance is making us deplete our wildlife reserve and costing us a market for wildlife tourism.
We need to learn to appreciate nature more and change our attitude towards animals. Also, those of us who find the idea of dignity for animal life laughable may need to have a rethink.
Fun fact about the Peregrine Falcon:
Peregrine Falcons do travel widely outside the nesting season—their name means “wanderer.” – National Geographic.