The smugglers, who were caught around the Bahinde Dogon Remy water area in Bagudo Municipal Council, were trying to smuggle things off the country’s shores.
In March, the Kano/Jigawa District Command intercepted four international businessmen as they attempted to export dry donkey skins to China through the land border.
District Superintendent, Muhammad Abu Bakr Omar, revealed that the suspects were found with 2, 754 phalli and 3,712 lashes valued at more than N418m.
In September 2021, agents of the Comptroller General of the NCS Strike Force, Area A, intercepted containers of venomous donkey skins and skins valued at millions of naira, stacked in a warehouse not far from the port of Ababa, Lagos, about to exist. He moved to the port for export when he was intercepted.
These are some of the reported cases of increased level of poaching; Which led to the slaughter of donkeys, a development that led to the steady decline of the animal in the country. This alarming scenario raises the fear that the animal may become extinct.
Donkeys are classified as endangered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which Nigeria is a signatory to.
The trade in donkey skins, which is illegal, is prohibited. Donkey skins fall under Schedule 6 of the Common External Tariff (2022-2026) export, which is prohibited.
The export ban guidelines are in line with the Federal Government’s policies to protect endangered species, protect the local economy and promote the National Forest Policy approved by the Federal Executive Council, which aims to strengthen the management of Nigeria’s vast forest resources against deforestation.
But to the chagrin of industry players and other stakeholders, the guideline has not been strictly adhered to, at the rate of decreasing the number of animals in the country per day.
Donkeys are hoofed mammals in the family Equidae like the horse. They are versatile animals and can have many uses including children’s riding, driving and showing, light work, as companion animals or simply as pets.
In color, donkeys range from white to gray or black and usually have a darker mane to tail stripe and a transverse stripe on the shoulders. The man is short, straight and the tail, with long hair only at the end, looks more like a cow than a horse. The ears are very long and dark at the base and tip. Although they are slower than horses, donkeys are confident on their feet and can carry heavy loads over rough terrain.
While it takes a year for a donkey to give birth to a young one, it is very rare for an animal to give birth to two offspring at a time, compared to goats or other animals.
The donkey has an incredible memory – he can recognize other areas and donkeys that they were with 25 years ago. Donkeys are not easily startled (unlike horses) and have a strong sense of curiosity. Donkeys are known for being stubborn, but this is due to their highly developed sense of self-preservation.
In rural areas, donkeys are often used in agriculture and as a means of transportation: they pull plows and carts, deliver goods to the market, collect water from wells. In urban areas, they are mainly used in construction, transportation of people and goods, and waste collection.
Donkey meat can be considered as a good alternative to the consumption of red meat, being the dietary meat. Donkey meat is actually low in fat, low in cholesterol, preferred fatty acid and rich in iron.
However, despite these benefits, the animal’s steady decline astounds stakeholders, who are delighted with fears that the animal may become extinct.
Animal husbandry and genetics specialist John Paul Abago, who works with the Adamawa Agricultural Development Program (AADP), Yola, Adamawa State, attributed the steady decline to the high consumption of donkey meat, noting that more than 16,000 donkeys are being transported from the north. to the south for meat annually.
They are sold and transported to the south for meat. Over 16,000 donkeys are transported from north to south annually for meat. This has led to a steady decline in the production of donkeys in the northern part of the country because the demand for donkey meat is much higher than production, as they are no longer seen as farm animals and as a result. So, they are seriously on the verge of extinction.”
Apagu, who was doing his research for a master’s degree at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State on donkey backs, said his visit to seven states in the northwest – Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa and Zamfara, which is the biggest affirmation Donkey producers state that the animal is heading towards extinction.
“All of these states have donkey markets except for Kaduna state where there are a few of them. Kaduna has a market of Lere Local Council, but it is not like other states because this area is dominated by Christians. But other Muslim-dominated states raise them more.
In terms of production, the Northwest follows the Northeast and is very little in the North Central. You hardly find them in the south due to the nature of their environment, as a result of the tsetse fly, which causes a disease called trypanosomiasis, which will eventually lead to death.
Second, Christians do not naturally raise donkeys. That’s why you can hardly see them in the south. They are kept mostly by the Fulani, because of the many forest trees that shelter them.”
One page advised the government and other stakeholders to avoid continued decline, proposing, “Let donkeys be considered farm animals because they have all the potential, importance, and other things that our pets can provide us.
“Secondly, there must be awareness of the need for donkeys and their importance in human life as they serve as a source of meat, milk, domestic animals, draft animals, etc. so that people develop an interest in donkey production and forget about culture and religious beliefs, so that donkey production can be increased efficiently.”
Malam Osman Mai Jackie Argongo, who keeps donkeys and also acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers of the animal in Kebbi State, emphasized the challenge of donkey farming.
“I use donkeys for merchandise, to transport my merchandise to the market. I also use my donkey to transport other traders’ merchandise from one market to another and also use animals to transport cow dung to my farm to be used as fertilizer.
The reason for the steady decline is that some people come here to buy in bulk and take them to the south where they are slaughtered for meat. Some dealers from other parts of the world come to buy in bulk, because of this the donkey, which sells between N3,000 and N10,000 has increased to between N100,000 to N150,000, because of this, the farmers I can’t afford the price anymore. ”
While lamenting that the donkey has gone beyond the reach of the common man in the country, he appealed to the federal government, the states where the animal is bred and other stakeholders to offer their assistance, to protect against animal abuse, noting this donkey is very essential to agriculture.