Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

A sad farewell to leading Nigerian conservationist, Professor Obot

Prof in Omo earlier this year, doing what he loved

It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the death of Professor Emmanuel Obot, affectionately known as ‘Prof’ by his friends. As the Executive Director of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF: the senior agency in the Omo-Shasha-Oluwa Initiative) as well as a friend to everyone he met, this is particularly sad. Indeed it was only a few weeks ago that Prof visited Omo to indulge in his true passion, which was looking for orchids (photo left).

His work was recognised globally, as demonstrated by testimonies from the international conservation community. These include articles (which can be accessed by clicking on the links) from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Other tributes from the international conservation community include the following:

“We are devastated by this news which I received this evening in Seoul.  We will be writing to Professor Obot’s family, and colleagues, as well as doing a web tribute, but none of this can bring him back.  He was a wonderful man!” (Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN)

“Professor Obot has been a part of the WWF family for a very long time.  He has been a steadfast colleague to all of us, and a hugely important leader for conservation in Nigeria.  We mourn his loss and will reach out to his family and colleagues at this very sad time.” (Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International)

“Sad, very sad to lose such a distinguished scientist. I met him in Delhi and exchanged views. Very brave man, may the lord embrace him with mercy and passion.” (Mohamed Shahbaz,  IUCN Regional Councilor for West Asia)

“I have been traveling from NZ to Cambridge,U.K. unaware until now of this very sad and tragic news of the loss of a much respected and cherished colleague.” (Aroha Mead, Victoria University of Wellington)

“I only had a chance to meet and work with Emmanuel on two or three occasions, but in addition to all the good things that others have said about him, I would add his what impressed me was his gentility — even in the heat discussions of controversial issues. It is an incredible loss not only to IUCN, CEESP [IUCN Commission on Economic Environmental and Social Policy], and SEAPRISE [Social and Environmental Accountability in the Private Sector group] , it is also a loss to his family, colleagues, and friends.” (Richard Cellarius, International Vice-President, Sierra Club)

“I have just learned of the recent, terrible, death of Prof. Obot… I have heard many very impressive things about him and his work. Please, convey my deepest condolences to his family.” (Jack Frazier, Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Conservation & Research Center)

“This is truly horrible news.  I had actually sent Prof. and a couple other Nigerian friends, an email yesterday asking if they were OK, and offering condolence for the loss of life in the disaster.  Prof. was always a good friend, an exceptional voice for conservation, and one of the real shining lights to me, and may others.  All of us, and the planet, have lost a true ally and friend.” (Richard Steiner, Oasis Earth)

“What terrible news. This is devastating. Please extend our deepest condolences to his family, his colleagues and to the SEAPRISE network.” (Nigel Crawhill, IUCN TILCEPA Specialist Group on Mountain Conservation Social Policy)

Prof. died in the horrific plane crash in Lagos on June 3rd 2012. For more information on this great man’s life, please read the announcement prepared by NCF by clicking here.

Prof’s last photo, taken on Friday 1st June 2012

Eminent conservationists visit Omo

Group on top of Beetle hill (from far left clockwise: Ruth, Clifford, Taiye, Nick, Stella, Prof. Obot and Deni)

Earlier this year, we were very lucky to be joined by several emininet conservationists. Visiting us from the Nigerian Conservation Foundation were Executive Director Professor Obot and Senior Conservation Officer Ruth Akagu. They were  joined by Deni Bown, one of the worlds leading herb specialists and the Coordinator of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture’s forest project. Finally,  from the A. P. Leventis Ornithological Reseach Institute,  Taiye Adeyanju Adeniyi completed the guest list.

During their visit, Deni and Prof. Obot spent their time looking at their particular interests of herbs and orchids respectively. At the same time, Taiye worked alongside our PhD candidate Stella Egbe to ‘mist-net’ using specially designed nets to catc some of the 240+ bird species present in the area. These are then  This involves   See below for some of the birds that were caught.

Both the botanists and ornithologists added several new species to Omo-Shasha-Oluwa’s lists, for which we are very grateful to them for.

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Compliments of the season

E-card designed by Chris Mutter (Paignton Zoo)

The Initiative is recruiting a Community Facilitator

The Omo-Shasha-Oluwa Initiative is looking to hire a Community Facilitator to lead the Participatory Learning and Action process within Omo and Oluwa’s rural communities, ideally starting on the 26th September 2011. For more information on this position, including the Terms of Reference, please contact

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Presentation to the Nigerian Field Society on 14th June 2011

The article was published in the Nigerian Field Society’s most recent newsletter about the Initiative’s upcoming talk:

“It’s official: Africa has two distinct species of elephant! As the Bush and Forest Elephants now need to be treated as separate entities, this has important repercussions for conservation. Unlike their savannah cousins, deforestation is the primary threat to Forest Elephants. As a result, the Omo-Shasha-Oluwa Forest Elephant Initiative was established to protect some of the last 10% of rainforest remaining in Nigeria.

Using his eight years experience of working  in sustainable development across four other continents as a basis, Nick Wicks (Pro-Natura Nigeria) intends to bring his blend of strategic conservation, enterprise creation and community development to bear on South-western Nigeria. Working in partnership with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation,  Paignton Zoo (UK) and the ERM foundation, he will be talking about the plans that he and his partners are implementing.

The talk will be held at the Kingfisher Club on Reeve Road on Ikoyi on the 14th June 2011. Doors will open at 7:00 with the talk starting at around 7:30.  There is a bar available for drinks before and after the talk. We need to advise the Club of names of attendees, so please register in advance with Charles Wheeler at

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