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The Nigeria Conservation Foundation and the University of Calabar have joined forces to save the endangered Cross River Gorillas from going into extinction.
They signed a Memorandum of Understanding to this effect which entails the NCF offering postgraduate scholarships to at least five students of the University of Calabar.
The MoU was signed on Thursday at the council chambers of the institution between the Director General of the NFC, Dr Joseph Onoja, and the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Florence Obi.
While signing the MoU, Onoja said, “The Cross River Gorilla is one of the species that is threatened. What is happening in the conservation circle is that we want to connect what is happening at the zoo and what is happening in the wild.
“This is to ensure that people will know that we are trying to preserve a little of what is happening in the wild.
“This is why Calgary Zoo approached us and we are also happy to respond to that collaboration. We are going to see how we can preserve and conserve the Cross River gorillas and their habitat.
“We need more scientific work to be done, while in doing that we are building the capacity of environmental biologists so we can continue to bequeath capacity and strength to the upcoming generation as well as species that would otherwise be extinct.”
Also speaking, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Florence Obi, applauded the partnership with the NCF, adding that the partnership dates back to 1991; saying they had done a lot for the university.
According to her, the institution is ever open and willing to partner more with NCF.
Explaining the partnership, the Director of External Relations and Partnership in the University, Prof Peter Okafor, said the partnership came about after several meetings between the institution, the NCF and its foreign partners (Calgary Zoo, Canada).
He said the NCF had agreed to provide scholarships to a minimum of four masters and one doctoral student of the university for five years.
“The scholarships are intended for graduate students in relevant disciplines to undertake researches that would foster community-based efforts to preserve and conserve gorilla wildlife in Cross River State and environment,” he said.