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Pilot survey of ethnozoological utilization of vertebrates in southwestern Nigeria

G A Dedeke
D A Soewu
O A Lawal
M Ola


A survey of some vertebrates used in traditional medical practices was carried out among
the Ijebu and Ibadan people of southwestern Nigeria. Open-ended structured questionnaires
were administered on 50 traders at five markets namely Oja-Oba, Bode and Oje in
Ibadan; Ita-Osu in Ijebu-Ode and Obada in Ijebu-Igbo. Eighty percent (80%) of the traders
were females, sixty-four percent (64%) were Muslims, sixty-two percent (62%) were
primary school leavers while forty percent (40%) were between the ages of 36-45 years.
The zootherapeutic uses of the wild vertebrates claimed by these traders ranged from the
cure of skin dryness, rheumatism, epilepsy, leprosy, impotency, infertility, healing of
wounds and preparation of aphrodisiacs. Other uses include the preparation of charms or
amulets for protection, good fortune, reverence from peers and elders and money ritual.
Sixteen of the forty species surveyed were listed as threatened in the Nigeria's Endangered
Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Decree No 11 of 1985. It is
therefore a necessity to conduct further research in order to authenticate the abovementioned
therapeutic claims. It is also imperative to educate these traders on the effect
of their trade on the threatened species and the likely resultant impact on biodiversity and
by extension the Nation as a whole.

Keywords: zootherapy, ethnozoology, impact, species.

Indilinga Vol. 5 (1) 2006: pp. 87-96