In partnership with the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), the Elephant Research and Conservation (ELRECO) on Monday, August 12, 2019, celebrated the World Elephant Day, and officially launched a scientific research program, a release has said.
According to the release, the program aims to conduct a comprehensive study of forest elephants to confirm where they still exist, and how to carve a peaceful human-elephant coexistence.
On Monday August 12, 2019, ELBC’s Super Morning Show in Monrovia, both FDA and ELRECO officials fervently pledged to combine their sustained efforts in protecting and preserving forest elephants, which they described as the beauty of the forest. They also said that forest elephants play an important ecological role in maintaining a healthy forest ecosystem and form a significant component of the Liberian culture thereby being historically important from one generation to the other.
During the two-hour live radio talk show that was featured on LBS, a platform exhaustively used by both FDA and ELRECO officials including Abednego Gbarway and Steve Davies, Wildlife Manager and Officer from FDA Wildlife Division on the one hand, and Bernhard Foster and Dr. Tina Vogt, CEO and technical director of ELRECO (respectively), on the other, created ample public awareness on the program, which is deemed necessary as far as the 2006 National Forestry reform law is concerned.
The two-hour public engagement talk show afforded the public the opportunity to grasp the importance of forest elephants and their functions in the forest and the need to uphold their conservation. Many concerned callers passionately appreciated and welcomed the initiative, and praised ELRECO and FDA for the efforts in conducting a scientific research and survey on forest elephants.
According to the scientists, forest elephants attract tourists from all over the world and therefore offer an economic value to national economy while also maintaining the natural biodiversity and ecosystems.
They discouraged the destruction and fragmentation of elephant homes in the forest, deforestation, hunting and killing of elephants, Ivory trade, mining and logging, agricultural expansion, among other threats, which have and continue to reduce elephant population.
The callers termed the gesture as redemptive mechanism that will provide unhindered sanctuary for the elephants to freely survive and remain standing as the beauty of the forest like all other protected species.
It can be recalled that during a recent conservation workshop held in Ganta, Nimba County, conducted by the REED+ Implementation Unit (RIU) and sponsored by the World Bank a one-time adapted elephant hunter, who claimed to have exhausted most of his youthful days hunting wildlife, elephant in particular in Lofa County, made a forthright confession about his unjustified destruction of the generation of wildlife, while he was yet actively clothed in the hunting garment.
A sectional chief in Lofa, Yarkpawolo Kalaplee, publicly confessed his ignorance and registered his regret now that he has come to realize the value of the generation of wildlife.
Kalaplee then made a passionate vow to champion the cause of the protection, and conservation of wildlife consistent with the governing law of the country.
The Forest Elephant is fully protected under the Liberian National Wildlife Law, and Liberia was identified as the most important country in West Africa for the survival of this important species.
The government has signaled a strong interest and commitment to its responsibility of Forest Elephant Conservation in West Africa, for example, by joining the Elephant Protection Initiative in 2015, and the development of the Liberia National Elephant Action Plan (NEAP) in 2016.
The NEAP is a 10-year conservation strategy to ensure the survival and long-term protection of the Forest Elephant, which is now implemented by FDA in partnership with ELRECO.