EU, Others Reinforce Calls for Wildlife Protection

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Liberian forest elephants (Photo: Thomas Breuer)

-FDA, conservation Partners pledge sustained collaborative efforts in fighting wildlife crimes

The government of Liberia, through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and its collaborating partners working in the forestry sector, observed World Wildlife Day with a call from diplomatic missions and international partners including the European Union unimpeded care and protection for the forest and all the endangered species.

Wildlife has been threatened by human activities that including cutting down the forest in which they dwell, and also hunting them by men directly to kill and consume them.

Organized and executed under the global theme, “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet, the well-attended ceremony took place at the famous Providence Island located in Central Monrovia and was outstandingly graced by several diplomatic missions accredited near the capital including the European Union delegation, embassy of the United Kingdom, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations (UNFAO), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Describing the forest as a “Golden treasure” the partners in separate remarks during the observance pledged to work with FDA and conservation partners with the hope for a sustained collaboration if Liberia is to remain a beacon of hope as it relates to the conservation of nature in the sub-region.

Customarily, FDA collaborates with the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF), Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue Protection (LCRP), Humane Society International (HSI), Fauna &Flora International (FFI), Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary, Conservation International (CI), Society for the Conservation of Nature in Liberia (SCNL), Elephant Research and Conservation (ELRECO), Species Working Group of Liberia (SWGL), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)    amongst others in sustainably managing the Liberian forest. 

In separate remarks, the collaborating partners pledged  to closely work together to ensure that the true intent of the World Wildlife Day is achieved at all levels, especially in Liberia where the forest and all of its elements face potential threats from illegal activities. They called for the political will of the government in terms of law enforcement, without which the efforts being exerted to protect the forest and wildlife could just be in vain.  

Miss Deborah Mensah from the Department of Forestry, University of Liberia gave the historical background of World Wildlife Day while Mr. Abenego Gbarway, Wildlife manager and Coordinator of Wildlife Crime Task Force, provided a status report on the successes and challenges in combating wildlife crime in Liberia. He candidly extolled the intervention on the part of the partners and used the occasion to call for augmented financial and technical supports towards the fight against wildlife crime.   

The Technical Manager of the Conservation Department at the FDA, Blamah Goll who served as keynote speaker, reemphasized the need for sustained livelihoods projects to benefit those forest dependents as a way of thwarting illegal activities in the forest. Mr. Goll advised the partners to practically convert the awareness program into actions that could neutralize the temptation of putting pressure on the forest for ends meet. He acknowledged the conservation practices used by our forefathers; something which he said contributed to the current existence of the forest.    

World Wildlife Day is a global initiative that obligates all countries to celebrate and raise awareness on the importance of the protection and conservation of biodiversity while practically enforcing the law that prohibits illegal destruction of the forest and its biodiversity by poachers.

On 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March – the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973 – as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.

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