The National Park Service says its collaboration with researchers has led to new discoveries of some plants and animals that may have potency against cancer and HIV and AIDS.
Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator-General, of National Park Service disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday, in Abuja.
The service is responsible for preserving, enhancing, protecting and managing vegetation and wild animals in the seven parks across the country.
According to Goni, the service is involved with many research bodies both local and international for biodiversity discoveries that will be beneficial to all.
“We have entered into collaboration through MoUs with various governments, NGOs, and research institutions towards getting both technical and scientific assistance.
“Research work is being carried out in the Unit Parks, at various levels as approved by management.
“These studies however cover external and internal research, with different topics and areas of relevance,” he said.
According to him, the service has discovered 10 new plant species out of which six are new records in Nigeria, and four probably new to science.
“Our researchers have discovered the “Prunus Africana plant’ which is believed to have potency against prostate cancer.
“And Angwantibo (Arctocebus calabariensis) which the nocturnal primate of its plant was believed to have gone extinct.
“We also discovered Ancistrocladus korupensis’ which is believed to have potency against HIV/AIDS.
“This plant was first discovered in Korup National Park – Republic of Cameroon and later found in Cross River National Park (CRNP), because these two Parks share the same ecological corridor.
“The research also led to the discovery of Zebra gecko (Hemidactylus eniangi) a unique gecko and Euryphura euthaloides, butterfly specie recorded for the first time from Nigeria in 2018,’’ he said.
Goni said that the service would continue to partner with the private sector and other interested bodies to raise the standards of the national parks through direct investments in ecotourism.
He said to ensure effective and efficient service delivery, the service embarked on advocacy visits to various agencies to strengthen synergy and build collaboration with such stakeholders.
“One of our functions is to encourage general education in the knowledge of wild and domestic animals and the vegetation.
“We do this by publishing or sponsoring the publication of results of research, particularly in relation to problems affecting Nigeria.
“And we will continue the maintenance of national gene pool and arena, for biotechnology development.”
Goni said that the National Parks across the country, have offered opportunities to over 8,000 students of natural sciences in tertiary institutions to carry out research work, both local and international.
“About 4000 Nigerian students from 123 tertiary institutions across the country have undergone the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES), at the various National Parks,” he revealed. (NAN)