The University of Calabar, UNICAL, and Nigeria Conservation Foundation, NCF have initiated and sign a Momerandom of Understanding, MoU, to provide Scholarship that will see five Post graduates undertake researches to preserve, conserve Gorilla Wildlife in Cross River state.
The MoU will see the Foundation Sponsoring four Master’s and one Doctoral students for the period of five years.
According to the Director, External Relations and Partnership, Prof. Peter Okafor, UNICAL, the scholarships are intended for graduates students in relevant disciplines to undertake researches that would foster community based effort to preserve and conserve gorilla wildlife in Cross River state and environment.
“The students selected for the scholarship would be admitted into any of the following departments in UNICAL; Environmental Education, Environmental and Resource Management, Forestry and Wildlife Resource Management, Geography and Environmental Sciences , Tourism Studies, Zoology and Environmental Biology.
“The current relationship with NCF started in September 2021 when we were approached by NCF for possible collaboration in the preservation and conservation of Gorillas wildlife.
“We held several meetings with their Criss River state Representative, officers from their headquarters and even their foreign partners ( Calgary Zoo, Canada) who visited our campus on the 28th of February , 2022.Those meetings yielded the results we are formalizing today by signing of the MoU between UNICAL and NCF,” he said .
On his part , the Director General of NCF, Dr Joseph Onoja said it collaboration was was welcome development for the future of gorilla and scientific advancement especially in preservation , conservation and beyond.
He hinted that initially in the science world it was believed that gorilla were extinct until 1982 when some of them were discovered in some parts of Cross River but we’re really threatened.
“We want to create a connection of what is happening in the wild in the zoo , we were contacted by Calgary Zoo all in a bid to see how to protect Cross River gorilla.
“We need more scientific work to be done so that we can continue to bequeath to the next generation information and a sense of responsibility
“With the knowledge , that is passed , we can preserve Cross River gorilla and more, so we are deeply committed to seeing this happen within the stipulated period of time,” Onoja said.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Florence Banku Obi, expressed excitement adding that NCF played a key role in building her to who she was today .
“NCF has been a great partner with the University, It’s a famous conservation foundation unit in Nigeria.
Today there is a lot of logging, deforestation but we still have the rain forest which must be protected.They have done a lot of research in Cross River most environmental organisation were the product of their immense contribution in the state.
“I want to commend, NCF for their contributions in terms of data, reaserch , books and more that they have been sponsoring,i thank you for the partnering with us to train four Master’s and one Doctoral students,” she said.
©George Odok Jnr