Update on killing of Elephant in Idanre, Ondo State

Residents and farmers in six communities in Idanre Local Government Area of Ondo State are living in palpable fear over the killing of one of the eight elephants said to have been terrorizing farmers in the last few months. The six communities troubled by the invasion of the animals are Alawo Ekun, Atupa, Ayinuola, Blessing, Ago Taylor and Nirowi.

Mixed reactions have greeted the killing of the elephant. While some describe it as self-defense, others ask relevant authorities to do the needful by bringing the culprits to book for their cruelty against the animals.

Elephant was killed to save lives—head hunter

Reports had it that a 57-year- old local hunter in Janiyi village, ldanre, Ojo Olaniyan Adaralode led others to kill one of the eight elephants said to have invaded the communities at midnight. Adaralode, who is the head hunter and President of Hunters Association in the council area, said he and other hunters responded to the distress call from the communities following frequent invasion of the elephants which had caused them untold hardship. Adaralode said that the death of one of the animals was “not deliberate but to save the lives and properties of the people living in communities.” He said: “Elephants from the thick forest had been visiting the villages in the area for sometime, destroying their mud houses,  farmlands, injuring people and sometime ago, sacked the residents of one of the villages, while a number of farmers relocated to a new place.” Narrating how he led other hunters to face the animal, Adaralode said: “On that fateful day, I was called that a group of elephants, numbering about eight, had invaded farms at Janiyi village. I rushed there and lo and behold, we met about eight elephants, charging and running after the residents of the village already. “One of the farmers, who saw the elephants on his farm and raised the alarm was held captive by the animals and when he tried to shoot to scare the animals away, the animals flung him to the ground and in the process, trampled on him and destroyed the gun with him.” Adaralode told Vanguard that the young hunter is still lying critically ill at an hospital in Idanre. Continuing, he said: “When we got to the scene, we shot into the air severally to scare them away but it yielded no result and one of the elephants was shot in the process.” According to him, residents of the communities have been living in fear for months as the elephants have been visiting the communities frequently  and leaving tales of woes. He said all efforts to wade off the animals from the communities yielded no result.

Corroborating the head hunter’s claim, a community leader, Chief Alani Akinlaja said that the animals usually invade the communities at night while they are asleep using their long tusks to uproot their huts and destroy their farmlands in the process. Akinlaja said: “Many houses have been destroyed by the animals which usually invaded the communities at night in search of what to eat; the animals are becoming more daring day by day as they have changed from their night invasion to daylight attack. It is like they are possessed by the way they destroy everything in their way including human beings.” Vanguard was informed that after the incident, hunters now go hunting in groups for fear of possible attack by two elephants, which they fear may return for revenge. Another leader in the community, who spoke with Vanguard, Tubosun Ogunmade warned the residents to be vigilant, saying the elephants would soon mobilize themselves to attack the people. He said: “These animals are intelligent and hardly forget things, they will be back to revenge.” When it was killed, Vanguard was informed that the seven others made attempt to pull it along while they fled the village but it was difficult because of some obstacles along the thick forest. No fewer than eight members of the community reportedly sustained various degrees of injuries when the animals invaded the communities and one of them met his death. After the elephant was killed, the villagers heaved a sigh of relief and brought out their knives and cutlasses to butcher the animal. However, the Ode-Ekun of Idanre, Smart Oguntimehin, who said the killing, was in self defense, solicited for government assistance in capturing the animals from the area. Oguntimehin said that a young farmer who was working on his farm noticed the arrival of the animals on his farm and tried to chase them out of the farm but said “before he could bring himself together, the animals started charging at him and trampled on him until he became unconscious.” He said: “Cruelty to animals is a crime and we cannot take laws into our hands but we must guard against the killing of our people. We have to protect our lives, lives are involved and we call on relevant authorities and bodies to come to our aid in bringing these animals under control.” Vanguard further learned that many villagers, who had the inkling that danger lurks in the corner have relocated. They reportedly farm during the day in the community but retire to sleep in other safe communities some distance away.

Mixed reactions greet killing

A university don, Prof. Ilesanmi Adeyemo called for the arrest and prosecution of those behind the dastardly act. Adeyemo who is of the Department of Ecotourism and Wild Life at the Federal University of Technology Akure said: “What that man did is illegal and he should be arrested and taken to jail because almost all the elephants in the area have been killed illegally. I don’t think we have up to 15 elephants in the whole of Nigeria and we are seriously looking for a way to conserve them. Elephants rarely attack people and I will not believe the hunter killed the animal to defend himself or his people.” The Owa of Idanre, Oba Frederick Aroloye declined comment asking this reporter to go and speak to the killers of the animal. Also, the state Commissioner for Tourism and Culture, Deji Olurimisi said the government is not concerned about the incident. Olurimisi said: “How am I concerned about what you are asking me? Since it did not happen in government forest reserve or government golf course, it’s not my concern.” Also, the Commissioner for Environment, Funso Esan said that if the elephants pose danger to the lives of the people, they are justified if they kill the animal.

Meanwhile, a Non- governmental body, Environment and Justice in Africa, in a memo to the state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu said “the killing of a dwarf Elephant during the week in Idanre Forest reserve is an indictment on the part of the Ondo State government and its Ministry of Environment. Its spokesperson, Dr Olugbenga Oke Samuel said: “The killing of the Elephant in Idanre is definitely a wake up call on the government to prioritise environmental governance in the state.” On its part, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, NCF, has asked the governor to prosecute the hunter who killed an elephant in Idanre. The Acting Director General of the NCF, Joseph Onoja, said ”The NCF plays a vital role in the country’s environment nature preservation. We manage the Omo-Shasha Woodland which is the last forest complex in the South-West where we still have the forest elephant. “It was in the corner of this forest that an elephant was killed, we have been in touch with the governor trying to get him to take action because the incident has the potential of embarrassing his government.”

 

Culled from Vanguard Nigeria 

Are you interested in joining a cause for Wildlife Conservation in Nigeria? Read this!

Earlier this week, there were reports of a local hunter who killed an elephant for sport and game in Idanre Hills, Ondo State, Nigeria. This brought so much sadness to our heart at MyAnimal,MyHealth because issues like this is one of our major concerns with poor animal health and welfare in Nigeria. While most of the world is busy working towards the protection and conservation of their wildlife at all costs, some of our citizens are acting albeit ignorantly in destroying our already dwindling wildlife for personal gains.

The fact that we still have elephants ALIVE in the country should be something to be celebrated and IMMEDIATE actions should have been taken to protect it. In countries with established systems and policies for this, the poor elephant should have been reported, protected, and kept healthy to continue to live and procreate in its natural environment. However, it is sad that our country pays little or no attention to preserving our wildlife and environment with no implemented or enforced policies. Even most of our Also, there is little knowledge or wildlife literacy especially among the rural dwellers who are located in remote areas and so interact more closely with our nature and wildlife. Furthermore, there is little research, data or information concerning wildlife and conservation in Nigeria as it is not a common area of interest for most scientists and environmentalists here.

With MyAnimalMyHealth, we are committed to working in this regard and taking proactive steps in understanding more about Nigeria’s wildlife and ensuring that wildlife and environmental conservation becomes a necessity and a lifestyle. We understand that there is currently little support or body towards this cause and we are willing to step into that gap to enact a positive change. We have an enormous task ahead of us and we are willing to work collaboratively with people who likeminded and are equally passionate about wildlife conservation.

To begin this, we are launching a coalition of people and professionals from all disciplines who are passionate about wildlife and environmental conservation. The goal of this coalition would be to establish proactive wildlife and environmental conservation in Nigeria by promoting wildlife literacy, research, and policies.

Our activity channels include (but are not limited to) the following;

  • To collate available data and information on wildlife in Nigeria
  • To encourage and participate in the implementation of policies and actions for wildlife and environmental conservation
  • To report and engage the public on wildlife conservation issues in Nigeria
  • To educate and train residents of select wildlife zones in rural Nigeria on wildlife conservation.

These objectives are not exhaustive and as we proceed, we will continue to improve on the coalition goals and objectives to ensure effective work. Our scope of work will include both forest and marine habitats.

If you are interested in joining this network of passionate, like-minded individuals for wildlife and environmental conservation, kindly reach us via myanimalmyhealth@gmail.com or call/whatsapp +2348120320647. Also, if you are outside Nigeria and you share this passion, and you would like to contribute in terms of resources and information, please feel free to contact us via email. 

 

How to manage Heat Stress in Poultry

​Heat stress is a condition in poultry farms that happens when high temperatures affect the optimum productivity of the birds. This especially happens when the high temperature is combined with relative humidity and low air speed. A few predisposing factors to this condition include genetics, feather cover, heat changes, relatively high drinking water temperature and inadequate water supply. Generally, older birds, heavy poultry breeds, and broilers are more susceptible to heat stress.

Heat stress is particularly common in Nigeria because of our hot climate and can affect birds in both rainy and dry season. Although naturally, the rainy season would have more impact than the dry season. Also, it happens frequently because a lot of poultry farmers are quite fond of overstocking their farms thereby reducing space per chicken.  For example, if the stocking density is too high for the size and design of house and ventilation equipment, the temperature may rise dangerously since there will be more metabolic heat being added to the house air than was planned for. Radiant transfer from bird to bird is then greater and stagnant hot air is trapped between the birds.

Severe heat stress can cause drops in production efficiency and even mass death of chicken in the flock or poultry farm. You may notice reduced growth rates, reduced egg production, and decreasing hatching rates. Heat stress can also cause a change in egg quality such as smaller eggs, thinner shells and overall poor internal egg quality. Overall, this adversely affects the profit from the poultry enterprise.

How do you know your poultry birds are suffering from heat stress?

If you notice any of the following symptoms in your chickens, they could be exhibiting classical signs of heat stress:

  • Labored breathing and panting
  • Pale combs/wattles
  • Lifting wings away from body
  • Signs of weakness or lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures/convulsions

How do you manage heat stress on your poultry farm?

Find below easy and practical management ways to manage cases of heat stress on your farm. This list is not exhaustive but they are sure to reduce the impact of heat stress on your birds.

  1. Check for any other cause of death with related symptoms e.g., Chronic Respiratory Disease (CRD)
  2. Check the stocking density of the birds and reduce if necessary. Prevent overcrowding the birds whether in resident on the farm or in transit.
  3. Avoid unnecessary activity and take care not to disturb them during the hottest times of the day.
  4. Measure temperature of the drinking water. If it is more than 25 degrees, flush the lines regularly. Also, check your water tanks to see if are protected against the sun; if not, place or block the water tanks away from the sun to prevent the sun from warming and increasing water temperatures.
  5. Feed only early in the morning and late afternoon, when environmental temperatures are cooler and remove feed when it is getting hot.
  6. Reduce the percentage of protein in the feed and provide more fatty acids.
  7. Administer heat stress medication such as vitamin C.
  8. Provide the birds with extra ventilation. It would be beneficial to invest in fans for this.
  9. Check feed for mycotoxins.
  10. Provide food in pellets instead of mash, because they can digest the former easier.
  11. Acidify the drinking water to prevent against salmonella.
  12. Remember to call and consult with your veterinarian.

 

Thanks to Dr. Lanre Olaifa, a Veterinarian and Avian Pathologist, for his contribution to this article.