The Bayelsa State Government has entered into partnerships with the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to save the Niger Delta Red Colombus, an endangered ‘rare monkey’ from extinction.
This is coming as the State government in partnership with these global organizations have launched a programme to preserve the endangered monkey.
The red monkey can only be found in Bayelsa forest for now.
As part of efforts to preserve the game, the state government is currently carrying out enlightenment campaigns, training of youths on the protection and preservation of endangered species.
The state government is also giving micro finance for accessing soft loans to farmers and hunters to discourage them from killing the monkey for meals.
It was also gathered that already, a total of 7080 hectares of gazetted forest reserve spanning three communities of Apoi, Kokologbene and Gbaraun, have been established to preserve the endangered red Colombus monkey specie.
Speaking at a forum in Yenagoa which had in attendant representatives from Apoi, Kokologbene and Gbaraun communities, the state government through the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr. Adaka Ezekiel, called on the people to help sustain the programme.
“You ought to be at the vanguard to protect and conserve the critically endangered Niger Delta Red Colombus monkey (poliocolobus epieni).
“Recall an awareness campaign/rally was recently held in Yenagoa, the state capital on the need to preserve this specie of monkey found only in Bayelsa,” he said.
Also speaking, an environmental consultant, Mr. Aroboi Okonofua said: “the Apoi creek forest reserve is very important not only to Bayelsa but to the whole world.”
According to him, “It has the ‘epieni’ which is the Niger Delta Red Monkey. They are only found in this area and no where else in the whole world.
“Hunters have been asked not to kill the monkey anymore because we risk not having them anywhere in the globe if not conserved and preserve now.”
To this end, “youths in the communities have been trained on the protection and conservation of the endangered monkey specie.
“And this informed the establishment of mechanism for accessing micro finance soft loans through farmers and non timber forest product harvesters and gatherers cooperatives for alternative source of livelihood.
“We have also organise awareness and advocacy programmes in the communities for effective policing by women and youth population.”
Speaking on behalf of the communities, Mr. Duba Matthew, thanked the state government and others for initiating the programme and promised to key into it.