The administration of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) in Sinoe County, has arrested a 60 year old hunter for allegedly killing four elephants in the Sapo National park.
On Saturday, April 27, 2019, the hunter, only known as Jarwee, according to the report, illegally entered the Jleepo Forest, near the National #1 Nature Reserve around Nelson village and hunted the animals down.
Up to press time last night, it was not clear as to the type of weapon Jarwee had used to kill the animals, but an eyewitness claimed to have spotted him with a well-loaded automatic rifle.
According to report obtained by the Daily Observer, Jarwee allegedly killed the four elephants in early March, but FDA rangers, who were on a recent foot patrol discovered the carcasses (bodies) of the elephants, without their tusks.
Elephants are among some of the world’s endangered species, and one of most protected animals in Liberia.
“Upon the discovery of the dead elephants,” the park warden, Alexander Gbarway, said they applied all efforts to bring the culprit to book, but have not succeeded, owing to the density of the forest.
Gbarway added, “Under the law, if anyone kills wildlife illegally, said person(s), when found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, can be sentenced up to four to five years or be fined an undisclosed sum of money.”
“An act of hunting down such animals contradicts section 11 of the National Wild Life Conservation and Protected Area Management Law of 2016,” Garway told a reporter in Greenville.
Meanwhile, some of the residents in Nelson Village said the Jarwee is an old hunter, who has been in the trade since 1980, but was in the constant habit of targeting wild animals, specifically elephant for its tusks.
They therefore called on the FDA to conduct further investigation as the killing of the animals may have involved several other known hunters.
The Sapo National Park is Liberia’s largest protected area of rainforest. It contains the second-largest area of primary tropical rain forest in West Africa after Tai National Park in neighboring La Cote d’Ivoire.
In the Upper Guinea Ecosystem, Liberia has about 48 percent of the rain forest, according to the FDA.
Ever since the Sapo National Park was proclaimed in 1983, there has been very slow progress to protect the areas from intruders; among them are suspected aliens.
The park is the country’s first protected area. Following the prospectors were hunters, many of them former combatants, who poached the park’s animals to sell as meat to their potential customers.
Importance of Elephants
As icons of the continent, elephants are tourism magnets, attracting funding that helps protect wilderness areas. They are also keystone species, playing an important role in maintaining the biodiversity of the ecosystems in which they live. During the dry season, elephants use their tusks to dig for water (interesting).