By Howard Scalia Who doesn’t love a good road trip?…
I trust this letter meets you well.
I have written similar letters to over 50 ‘erring’ countries. I feel this clarity is needed, before you guys being who you are, start to take things personally thinking perhaps I planned to spite you with my letter.
In all honesty, I had planned to make my tone harsher and be more direct with my chastisement but for the plea from my fellow rhinos. Nonetheless, I won’t shy away from letting you know how I truly feel about this. I may have forgiven you all for not even caring to shed a tear or comment about how painful my death is to the world and the general ecosystem (after all, I am not Kim Kardashian or some celebrity of note) but I will not forgive your nonchalance to matters regarding conservation.
I have watched with intense curiosity how you all dump refuse in gutters instead of the bin, how you emit smoke without a care, cut trees carelessly and cause deforestation, pollute rivers and kill thousands of fishes all in the name oil exploration and the one that beats me the most, how you all hesitate or out rightly refuse to support agencies and bodies that are at least making efforts at conserving the environment like the Obudu Conservation Centre.
May I remind you at this point that a people that pushes to the back seat matters regarding preserving the environment will have themselves to blame eventually. Imagine how quickly people will fall ill and die when there is no longer conducive oxygen to breathe, no fishes to provide you with quality protein, and no trees to provide protection from the sun. Imagine how the world will be without the forests, lakes, ranches and valleys.
For as many who may be finding it hard to understand my passionate plea and why they should be bothered, here are a few lessons you may learn.
1. Extinction is Real: About half a million rhinos roamed in Africa and Asia in 1900 but due to poaching, driven largely the trade in Rhino horns, habitat loss, the figure fell to 70,000 by 1970 and right now, there are only two left, my daughter Najin and granddaughter, Fatu and the IVF effort fails, it will be the end of my specie when they both die.
2. We are all culprits: Before you start pointing accusing fingers, please know that you are as guilty as charged. By your indiscriminate burnings and your bad driving habits, you are decimating the environment.
3. This is a responsibility for us all: There is more to my death than merely about the end of a species of rhino. It should be an abject lesson on how you Nigerians and human generally should and must live our lives better. It is a judgement about the lack of respect we have for living things. Know this today, that for every action, there will be a reaction. Flowers do not grow into a fruits because bees do not pollinate them. Bees do not pollinate them because pesticides kill them.
That said, I am not the nicest of animals – ask Najin, my daughter and Fatu, my grand daughter – so the next time I write a note like this it will definitely come with stricter warning.
About Obudu Conservation Centre
Obudu Conservation Centre is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to educating, protecting and restoring the wildlife and wild lands of the Obudu Region and the surrounding Cross River National Park, which runs into Cameroon’s Takamanda National Park.
The Centre is situated amidst several mountain ranges, hundreds of acres of forest, meadows, streams and spectacular rock formations. On the plateau, there is a wildlife canopy walkway and several miles of a hiking trail for school groups to safely observe natures outdoors. The centre is also outfitted with comfortable and safe student and chaperone chalets for overnight trips and is managed by Nela Duke who is the Chief Executive Officer.