“Still, laid the lifeless carcass of a beautiful turtle upon the cold floors of a wooden batcher in Elem-Sangama village, Soku, in the Niger Delta.
It was in the harsh claws of a fisherman’s net that it was caught, conquered and dragged ashore by a rustic dug-out boat hewn from the sempervirent mangrove forests cloaking the delta….
We found the picture above on the mobile phone of an inhabitant of Elem-Sangama community, Soku, in Rivers State, Nigeria. It illustrates one of the great dangers and threats bedevilling the Niger Delta ecosystem.
This highly endangered species, called the African softshell turtle is gradually being faced out of the Niger Delta ecosystem due to the increasing predatory rates confronting their population in the region.
Over the years, several turtle species which endow our Niger Delta creeks have been constantly exposed to both intentional and accidental predation from the locals. The turtle in the picture was reported to have been accidentally caught by the fishing net of one of the local fishermen.
As this is yet another endangered tourism potential in Nigeria, it is therefore another challenge the Nigerian government must wake up to if it intends to create viable alternative sources of revenue it has always promised her citizens.
And who shall help us salvage what is left of these amazing endowments: a foreigner clothed in the garments of Mary Slessor or the poor Niger Delta pikin who’s belly is his one and only ‘development project’?
- The African softshell turtle (Trionyx triunguis), or Nile softshell turtle, is a large species of turtle from fresh water and brackish habitats in Africa. It is the only extant species from the genus Trionyx; and despite the name African softshell turtle, it is not the only species or genus of softshell turtles in Africa (Wikkipedia).
This article was written by Folarin Kolawole
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