Elephants on the Rampage in Nimba Forests: A Wake-up Call for the Weah Administration

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Our Nimba Correspondent, Ishmael Menkor, in yesterday’s back page story, reported that elephants, the biggest of all forest wildlife created by God, recently went on a rampage deep inside the Gio Forest near Tappita in Lower Nimba County, destroying plantain farms, rice kitchens and other farmers’ facilities.

In his well-researched story, Reporter Menkor interviewed the Administrative Commissioner Samuel N. Wheyee of Doe Administrative District, who welcomed the return of the elephants, and warned local residents to do the gigantic creatures no harm.

Commissioner Wheyee explained that the elephants had crossed over to the Ivorian side of the border seeking refuge when their habitat in the forest came under attack from farming activities.  “But now that the forest is being reserved by Prosper, an American non-governmental organization (NGO), the animals are now returning to where they had previously resided.

The villages ransacked by the animals, said Commissioner Wheyee, were situated deep inside the forest, “and so it is time that those who have their villages there relocate.

The villagers who encroached on the elephants’ territory “did so illegally,” the Commissioner insisted, “so whatever they planted there belong to the elephants or any endangered species roaming that forest.”

The Commissioner warned that anyone who shoots any of the animals will be prosecuted under the law.

We urge the in-coming administration to strengthen forest conservation laws, including the protection of wildlife and endangered species.

The main purpose of this Editorial is to acquaint the President-elect, George Weah, with a great development that could help make his administration successful—and that is TOURISM.

Liberia, President Weah must be made to realize, has vast tourism potential.  And he must be informed that tourism is not only a money maker but also a bigtime job creator and a force for sustained and widespread development.

What do we mean by Liberia has vast tourism potential?  We mean that our country is blessed with many picturesque (scenic, attractive, colorful) attractions that tourists from all over the world would love to visit.  One is Grand Cape Mount County, especially its capital, Robertsport, where within a one mile area, there is a lake, Lake Piso, a mountain, the Cape Mount Mountain and its tropical forest, and an ocean, the Atlantic, with beautiful golden sand beaches.

Another is the Kpatawee  Waterfall behind Cuttington University in Suacoco, Bong County.

There is also Lake Sheppard in Harper, Cape Palmas, where there is also the Tubman Museum, and also the Atlantic Ocean.

Liberia also has a rich culture that our people as well as foreigners have enjoyed for generations.  We pray that the Weah administration will work quickly and comprehensively to rebuild the National Cultural Center, restore the acrobatic program and the National Cultural Troupe that used to travel the around the country and the world entertaining our people and foreigners to their delight (enjoyment, happiness).

President Weah, an old Monrovia boy, also is familiar with the tourist attractions in the capital city—the Mesurado and St. Paul Rivers their wetlands and their scenic surroundings; the Ducor Intercontinental Hotel and its green and hilly surroundings that overlook, again, the great Atlantic Ocean.

There is also Liberia’s 350-mile coastline, spanning from Robertsport in Cape Mount to Harper, Cape Palmas.  Liberians have for long dreamed of an oceanic highway along the Atlantic from Robertsport to Harper.

Here is a major development challenge for the new Weah administration.

What do we mean by tourism being a development booster and a big time job producer? By this we mean that beautiful four and five-star hotels, with swimming pools, plush restaurants and coffee shops and golf and tennis courts bring development.  They also bring jobs, plenty of jobs of all kinds — corporate employment as well as self-employment.

And one of the great attractions that tourists love to see is not only our beaches, but also our wildlife.  President Weah should know that Liberia has plenty of wildlife—not elephants only, but leopards, hippopotamus, including the great pigmy hippo, found only in Liberia and few other African countries—Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast. But the pigmy hippo is found primarily in Liberia.

In Reporter Menkor’s story yesterday, we learned that Liberia has plenty of elephants. They are also found in Lofa County and elsewhere. Our new President should also know of all the wild animals in the Sapo National Forest. He should also be aware of a great town in Upper Lofa County called Vahun, which has a vast forest full of wildlife, including  all kinds of monkeys and chimpanzees, leopards and some say even giraffes and even zebras.

What wonderful gifts Liberia has, yet unexploited for our good and greatness!

We pray that the new administration will rise to these challenges and truly lift Liberia and move her forward.

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