-Key actors set to turn the wheel
Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and stakeholders over the weekend validated a report that include Wildlife Trafficking Threats Assessment in Monrovia, a release has said.
Some of the Liberian stakeholders who were involved with the enforcement of wildlife conservation and protection include the National Fisheries and Aquaculture, officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
According to the release, the validation exercise was held in Monrovia on September 28. The participants agreed to form a coordinated front to ensure that wildlife is curtailed as a way of providing maximum protection for wildlife population throughout the country.
Michael Bessike, USAID (United States Agency for International Development)/WABiC Biodiversity Conservation Specialist, who presented a background of the wildlife illegal trade and trafficking threats assessment report to the body as a basis to make informed decision, called on concerned stakeholders to take ownership of the study and make it institutionally prudent as far as the intended purpose is concerned.
Bessike recounted several instances of illegal wildlife trade and trafficking being practiced in the sub region and elsewhere, something he said is gradually terminating the existence of endangered species.
He then strongly challenged the implementing agencies to see this document as the best panacea for wildlife conservation and protection.
Mr. Bessike advised them to make wildlife trade more risky and less attractive by letting the dagger of the law fall decisively on those bent on the illicit and unwholesome wildlife trade which is merely aimed at profiteering.
He said the protection and conservation of wildlife forms a vital component of national security services, which Liberia must adopt to save wildlife generation.
FDA Acting Managing Director, Joseph Tally, reaffirmed Liberia’s readiness to comply with terms and conditions in combating illegal wildlife trade as required under international best practice.
Tally said the need to protect wildlife and conserve them in the wild remains one of the most civilized measures or actions any nation would implement.
He identified wildlife trafficking as a multi-billion dollar illicit business that has and continues to deplete Africa’s iconic animal population such as elephants, chimpanzees, pangolins and sea turtles, which he said face the risk of significant decline or complete termination.
Mr. Tally noted that the war against wildlife population is traditionally waged by people who are often well-armed, equipped, as well as organized networks of customary poachers, criminals and corrupt officials, who exploit porous borders and feeble situations to make profit from illicit wildlife trade within the sub-region.
He recommended national and regional cooperation between and among enforcement entities, to prosecute and adjudicate wildlife related crimes as the best way to curtail the crime.
Tally also named the establishment of a Confiscation Unit at the FDA as one of the many checkpoints to deter wildlife abuse in the country.
He informed the workshop that FDA has formed a sustained coalition with other partners like the EPA, to develop what he calls National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan intended to successfully implement wildlife protection and conservation.
He then applauded USAID-WABICC authorities, who saw the vision to commission the consultant of “Born Free USA,” conducting the study that has become a useful national instrument.
Mr. Tally then expressed the hope that the government will brace these efforts through political will like it has always done, to ensure that threatened fauna and flora populations are protected through sustained law enforcement measures.
“FDA will help to push government to protect threatened fauna and flora by imposing strict deterrent policies, to reduce demand for threatened species products consistent with commitments made under CITES,” he said.