Chinedu Mogbo was born in Nigeria and was raised with a love for animals. After being fortunate enough to study Biomedical Science and Public Health in the UK, Chinedu was able to go back to his own country and start building the Greenfingers Wildlife Conservation Initiative. The project works towards the rescue and rehabilitation of the countries endangered species, as well as conducting outreach programs within the local communities. Chinedu kindly answered some questions for us on what inspired him to follow this path and the work being done by the Greenfingers team.
What made you want to work in conservation?
My love for animals started at a very young age of 10 years, though in my country, as a child, this was greatly discouraged. Having had an opportunity to study in the UK, returning home gave me the courage to change the narrative – to encourage children with nature intelligent abilities to thrive and also protect the remaining wildlife we have in Nigeria.
What steps led you to where you are today?
A passion for wildlife led me to where i am today. The desire to also make a change in the world, by impacting young Nigerians to aspire to change the status quo, to give a voice to the voiceless and make meaningful impact in reversing the damage done to wildlife in Nigeria
What is your favourite aspect of your job?
The combination of science and nature. Giving a practical approach to the theoretical curriculum and watching young minds become inquisitive and enthusiastic about discovery in nature.
What was your proudest moment as a conservationist so far?
Anytime I am successful in rescuing an animal caught by hunters or fishermen or being openly sold in bushmeat markets has been the highlights. Then we rehabilitate them and watch them thrive, this gives the extra kick to a job well done.
What gives you hope for the future of conservation?
Our efforts for the future give me hope. The impact we have made over the years and how we have seen children become so passionate about wildlife ensures that the future might just be okay – so as we protect what we have, they are sure to sustain it.
What advice would you give to new conservationists trying to build a career?
The journey is not always what you expect. There are times of difficulties, times where you have to stand alone without any support – but always know that you will get through those moments – no matter what is lost or taken away, your passion will lead you through to better days.
What are your future career goals?
Establishing wildlife sanctuaries across Nigeria – developing a system of sustainable wildlife systems where captive breeding is introduced to replenish the low species numbers. To also establish a wildlife academy for youth to be trained in areas of wildlife.
Why do you think people should care about conservation and the environment?
People cannot exist without wildlife. Our planet cannot be populated by man alone – we need a balanced ecosystem maintained by a healthy environment to thrive. Damage to the environment upsets the ecosystem balance and this affects us all.
Can you give a brief intro to your organisation and its aims?
Greenfingers wildlife conservation initiative started in 2012, became a registered entity in 2018. our vision is for the protection and preservation of the wildlife of Nigeria.
Give us a brief history of your organisation, how did it start?
Started as i came across wildlife markets and the bushmeat traders with different vulnerable and endangered species. I set up a system to retrieve the animals from these individuals and on a small piece of land owned by a friend, we started creating simulated habitats for the species to thrive.
How does your organisation interact with the local community?
We support the local community by engaging in community clean ups, engage the community by supporting them to ensure any wildlife conflict within the area is reported to us and we intervene. Providing jobs for some members of the community within the sanctuary.
What are the long-term goals for the organisation?
Creating more wildlife sanctuaries. Educating 100,000 children every two years in wildlife education. Building capacity for wildlife related courses from Nigerian universities.
How can people help support your organisation or get involved themselves?
We run wildlife campaigns to educate the public and influence policies and our government does not meet our funds for these campaigns. We depend on support financially or by provision of equipment/supplies for our wildlife veterinary clinic. Individuals with expert skills in veterinary, wildlife management or any related field can also volunteer. We also offer ‘adopt me’ campaigns were rescued wildlife can be adopted and catered for specifically. Follow us on social media (Instagram, twitter and Facebook) @greenfingerswi and share.