The hooded vulture Necrosyrtes monachus was once a species of Least Concern in the Red IUCN list in 2010 before recently plummeting to the Critically Endangered listing. This steep decline is due to habitat fragmentation and mass persecutions of these birds. Their body parts have high value in many parts of West Africa specifically Nigeria, where some believe that these cure a range of physical and mental illnesses and improve new business ventures. The most populous city of Nigeria, Lagos has few of the last hooded vulture population thriving in the Lekki Urban Forest Animal Sanctuary Initiative (LUFASI). With a few of these critically endangered birds breeding and nesting on the Ekki trees of the LUFASI forest, the park aims to protect these breeding sites and serve as a living laboratory to study and learn about the birds’ behavioral biology.
With the study of the hooded vulture behavior being the very first extensive study done, the project will contribute immensely to the documentation on the behaviors of the hooded vulture population in Lagos and to LUFASI’s Forest Conservation efforts in the country. This will be done by having regular surveys and monitoring of the population to comprehend the hooded vulture-Ekki tree relationship
The Ekki or Ironwood Lophira alata, is a hardwood tree that grows in swampy and rain forest habitats found in West Africa ranging from Sierra Leone to Cameroon including Nigeria. Ekki wood is highly durable, shows resistance properties to acid and insects and is almost inflammable.
For these properties, the wood is utilized in a wide range of products like heavy construction, of rail sleepers, flooring and decking of ships, jetties and furniture as well as for medicinal purposes. As a result, the tree is listed as Vulnerable on the International union for conservation of nature (IUCN) red list. Very few of the Ekki population thrives in south-western Nigeria including Lagos and LUFASI Nature park houses and protects some of these trees.
In a bid to achieve our strategic goal of conserving LUFASI’s forest and safeguarding the biodiversity in it and in helping to expand the forest cover across the state, the Ekki Reforestation project is one of LUFASI’s pioneer schemes for afforestation. The LUFASI forest has a high density of Ekki saplings as well as mature trees and efforts are being made to fortify our LUFASI boundary fence for optimum protection. LUFASI is determined to transplant these trees in other degraded areas of Lagos and around Nigeria.
The “Save the Lekki Coast” campaign is spear headed by Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, the founder of the Lekki Urban Forest and Animal Sanctuary Initiative (LUFASI) along with the community leaders and members of the Lafiaji / Barb Wire community near the popular Alpha beach, Lekki peninsula Lagos, Nigeria. The Barb Wire Community is one of the many coastline settlements affected by rising sea levels and shoreline erosion and they have been voicing out their anxiety and pleading with the federal and state authorities to save their community from being totally washed away.
Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi said, “The only permanent solution is to continue the construction of rock groynes all the way down the coast .The erosion won’t stop until the coast is protected”. He urged the Federal Government to deploy the ecological funds into saving Lekki coast and protecting the inland area of this rapidly developing area. Click here to watch Mr. Majekodunmi speak on this.
There was a major campaign done on Saturday April 29, 2017 where thousands of sand bags were placed on the eroded shoreline to protect from further erosion. The campaign had the support of concerned environmentalists and activists who all helped in transporting and placing the sandbags in the affected areas on the beach.