Proposed highway will clear a 162-mile-long, 12-mile-wide swath through community forests and protected areas
Conservationists urge the country to pursue other development alternatives in order to safeguard vital rainforest habitat for Cross River gorillas, forest elephants, and other species
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WCS Campaign To Stop Nigeria’s Superhighway Delivers More Than 100,000 Petition Signatures To Nigerian Ambassador
Image WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs John Calvelli (r) meets with Hakeem Balogun, Charge d’Affaires of Nigeria at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C.: CREDIT: Courtesy of WCS.
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WASHINGTON (December 13, 2016) — A global campaign recently launched by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) to stop or reroute a proposed superhighway in Nigeria’s Cross River State has succeeded in securing 100,081 petition signatures in support of the effort.
A thumb drive containing the first batch of petition signatures was delivered to Mr. Hakeem Balogun, Charge d’Affaires of Nigeria to the United States today at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC by WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs John Calvelli. WCS is continuing to collect petition signatures at http://bit.ly/2dWeKxB.
If constructed, the Nigerian superhighway project will clear a 12-mile wide swath through some of the country’s last remaining rainforest habitat, potentially displace 180 indigenous communities and threaten one of the world’s great centers of biodiversity and home to the Cross River gorilla, the world’s rarest great ape.
“This global outpouring of concern about this ill-considered project sends a clear message to the Nigerian government that other options need to be explored, ones that don’t displace countless communities and threaten the region’s wildlife,” said Calvelli, who also serves as Director for the 96 Elephants campaign and other public engagement efforts for conservation.
WCS’s global campaign complements a previous effort launched by the local Ekuri community whose villages and forests are in the path of the proposed superhighway. The initiative has already secured 253,000 signatures on a petition sent to President Buhari of Nigeria that calls upon him to safeguard the threatened rainforests, associated livelihoods, ancestral homes, and much of the region’s biodiversity. WCS is calling upon its supporters to join the Ekuri people. You can sign the petition here: http://bit.ly/2dWeKxB.
The proposed highway will feature six paved lanes for a length of 162 miles, and will clear a 12-mile wide corridor through that will cut through several protected areas, including the Cross River National Park, Ukpon River Forest Reserve, Cross River South Forest Reserve, Afi River Forest Reserve, and the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary. These protected areas are home to a number of threatened species such as the Nigerian-Cameroon chimpanzee, the drill, Preuss’s red colobus monkey, the slender-nosed crocodile, and the “Critically Endangered” Cross River gorilla that numbers fewer than 300 individuals.
Go to www.wcs.org to learn more. You can take action to stop the superhighway by signing here: http://bit.ly/2dWeKxB.
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