The Forestry Development Authority (FDA), in line with its mandate to protect the Wildlife Law of Liberia, has confiscated and burned a huge quantity of bush meat.
Under the Wildlife law of Liberia, endangered species are not to be killed for consumption and hunters are not to enter protected forests for any hunting activities; nevertheless, in spite of efforts to inform hunters and discourage bush meat buyers about killing of endangered species, it remains challenging for the FDA to come to a full realization of enforcing the law as hunters are persistently killing endangered species while buyers are also rushing to purchase the meat.
Protected forests in Sinoe, River Gee and Grand Gedeh Counties, lower Nimba, and Gbarpolu Counties remain under siege by hunters where endanger species are under threat at all times.
In the exercise on March 27 at the FDA’s Whein Town Head office outside Monrovia, FDA Wildlife Manager, Abednego Gbarway, reiterated that it is illegal and forbidden to kill protected animals and trade them. According to him, the FDA’s unwavering deterrent measure against the killing of protected species especially at a time when the origin of Coronavirus has in some opinions been traced to wildlife remains uncompromising.
Gbarway also warned against habit of some to domesticate endangered species as pets; something he said also has a grave penalty. When not managed with care, such animals like chimpanzees and monkey used as pets can destroy property and harm human beings, and it comes with a grave medical consequence, especially in terms of harming humans.
Also commenting during the burning exercise, Deputy Director of the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue Protection (LCRP), James Desmond, added that interacting with wildlife which he said are primary carriers of human killer diseases.
The effort to confiscate the dried bush meat came through the instrumentality of FDA Rangers — men and women trained purposely to keep watch on protected forests and endangered species therein. Mr. Gbarway therefore commended them for the risk the rangers are taking to discourage the hunting and trading of bush meat in keeping with the Wildlife Law; urging them to keep up the fight in the cause of protecting the generation of species in line with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulations that seeks to ensure that trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
CITES agreement has been in effect since 1975 and was strengthened in on January 2, 2017 with a warning that “Those crossing custom checkpoints at the airport or an international port should be aware that the new trade regulations for over 500 species of animals and plants are just entering into force.”
In line with declaration by the government to put measures in place to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus that is claiming lives in other parts of the world including the United States, Italy and Spain, FDA Managing Director, C. Mike Doryen has cautioned employees to be increasingly observant at all times as regards the application of rules and regulations in place for safety.
Mr. Doryen who himself led the combustion exercises put in place at the head office of FDA last week, cautioned the employees not to breach the rules, noting, “The safety of the nation begins with the safety of a single person.”
Mr. Doryen said “Now is time we, as people and nation, to cleave together under a firm unity banner and do all we can to ensure that the virus does not gain space in our land.”