The government has given a one-year prison sentence to a man in the port city of Buchanan for killing a leatherback turtle. The animal is listed as one of several protected wildlife species in Liberia by the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).
The case was held at the Buchanan City Court, and the man, identified as Boggay Jones, was found guilty.
He was arrested on November 15 by officers of the FDA, and was subsequently turned over to the Liberia National Police (LNP). According to police, he was later charged and sent to court for persecution.
Boggay Jones, alias BJ, is a local hunter and resident of Sugar Cane Community in Buchanan City.
Laws against the killing of endangered species are the world’s most effective and important environmental regulations. These represent a commitment by conservationists and environmentalists as well as other stakeholders to work together to protect and restore species most at risk of disappearing forever.
But worldwide, plants and animals are disappearing at an alarming rate, and the natural systems that all species, including humans, depend on are at serious risk.
The FDA, in an inquiry yesterday, said that the culprit admitted that he was aware that the turtle is an endangered species that is unlawful to kill, but he could not let it go because of its economic value. The butchered turtle was confiscated from Jones and has since been burnt before a group of multi-stakeholders in Buchanan.
However, in a statement yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through its Deputy Executive Director, Urias S. Goll, commended all parties including the joint team for their cooperation in bringing the perpetrator to justice.
Members of the joint-team included the FDA, EPA, Bureau of Fishery, Maritime, LNP, Grand Bass County Attorney and others.
Goll also thanked the residents of Salween community who made the arrest before alerting relevant authorities to expedite the prosecution process.
He expressed hope that the punitive measure taken will serve as a deterrent to others who are in the constant habit of killing protected and endangered species, as well as degrading their natural environment.