Utilization of animal wildlife and their by-products by farmers in Nigeria, as confirmed by this survey, is for cultural and religious ceremonies and traditional medicine. The pattern of consumption of wild animals depends on what species are available in different ecological zones. In traditional medicine, some wildlife by-products are acceptable nation-wide, while in religion, farmers are very selective — especially the Muslims. Culturally, utilization is largely by tribal and ethnic background. In the installation of traditional rulers and in performing traditional rites, some specific wild animals and their byproducts must be sacrificed.
Wild animals are so vital to the rural people that adequate consideration must be given to maintaining wildlife habitats when rural development projects are planned. This is especially important when these projects involve major land-use changes or modification of traditional agricultural practices. Much of the small mammal, bird, and reptile, habitat is comprised of small wild patches, marshes, or narrow riparian strips, which can easily be destroyed by short-sighted activities. This wildlife is a valuable renewable resource which can continue to produce benefits only if adequate habitats and protection are available.
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