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    Tuesday, April 25, 2023

    Peafowls Receive Warm Welcome At Nigerian Airport

    Cletus Ukpong

    The birds are named after a Nigerian pilot and his wife.

    A handful of tourism and conservation experts turned up at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on 16 March, to receive a pair of peafowls flown into the city from Abuja.

    The sub-adult birds, male and female, were donations from the National Park Service of Nigeria to the Biodiversity Preservation Centre (BPC), Uyo, for teaching, learning and research.

    Edem Eniang, a professor of wildlife and head of the centre, brought the peafowls (Pavo cristatus) to Uyo after receiving them from the Conservator General, National Parks Service of Nigeria, Ibrahim Goni in Abuja.

    Among the people who received the beautiful birds at the Uyo airport were the Coordinator of the South-South Tourism Roundtable Steering Committee, Piriye Kiyaramo, who is also the Senior Special Assistant to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, and the pioneer chairperson, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, in Akwa Ibom State, Usen Udoh.

    Speaking at the airport event, Mr Kiyaramo said the South-south region of Nigeria, particularly Bayelsa State, was grateful to the conservator-general for facilitating the approval of two new national parks in the region, namely, Edumanon and Apoi Creek national parks which are in Bayelsa.

    "It was a very happy mood. It was fantastic," Mr Eniang told PREMIUM TIMES about the airport reception for the peafowls.

    "We later had a party at the BPC," he added.

    Mr Eniang said two new child ambassadors for conservation in Akwa Ibom were recruited with the arrival of the birds at the Uyo airport.

    Named after Nigerian pilot, wife

    The birds are named after a pilot, Enim Akwa and his wife, Enwongo, for their support of the BPC's conservation efforts in Akwa Ibom.

    Enwongo Cleopas-Akwa was there at the airport reception for the birds, while her husband was said to be on duty outside of Akwa Ibom.

    The donation of the peafowls by the National Park Service of Nigeria is regarded as an endorsement of the BPC's conservation work in Nigeria.

    "For us, it is one of our highest endorsements from the government," said an elated Mr Eniang.

    At the BPC, the birds were taken into a temporary accommodation.

    Peafowl, which is not an endangered species, belongs to a group of birds called pheasant which is associated with the cultural heritage in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states.

    "In Akwa Ibom, Cross River, peacocks are recognised as nkanda. One of the most respected ekpe cultural masquerades, is adorned with peacock feathers," said Mr Eniang.

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