Wildlife rangers from the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) have intensified efforts as pertheir mandate to arrest and confiscate endangered species that are protected under the banner of the Liberian wildlife law. Accordingly, a baby bush cow estimated to be six to seven months old was yesterday arrested and confiscated by rangers assigned in Gbapolu County from men who were attempting to convey the animal to Monrovia for business purpose. The animal has been immediately transferred to the LABASSA Eco lodge in Marshall, along the Roberts field Highway for rehabilitation and care.
In similar development a team of Wildlife experts led by FDA Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Benjamin Tennessee Plewon, III has returned to Monrovia from a fact-finding mission in Grand Cape mount where it has gone to conduct an on-the spot investigation into the cause of the death of an elephant. During its investigation it was observed that one out of three hunters who had gone to hunt got killed by the wounded elephant who retaliated before its death. The wildlife team used the occasion to warn of a possible danger it may cause any environment and people when wildlife are pursued, hunted and killed contrary to the law that protects them. Wildlife experts from the FDA attribute the retaliatory measure of wild animals to the usual unprovoked attack on them by hunters who hunt them in the wild. They say animals too would observe the first law of nature which calls for self-preservation.
Meanwhile a wild chimpanzee rescued and subsequently confiscated during a recent clearing operations of illegal occupants and miners from the Sapo National Park in Sinoe County by rangers of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA ) in collaboration with concerned partners working in the park, local authorities and traditional leaders has been named ‘Sapo’ in honor of the Sapo national park. ‘Sapo’ as the rescued chimp is now nobly called, currently retires peacefully in the protective custody of the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection (LCRP) organization in Monrovia.
Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection (LCRP) is a Liberian NGO, collaborating with local and international partners in caring for current chimpanzee residents while developing long term strategies to combat the illegal trade and conservation of chimpanzees and other protected wildlife. LCRP is Liberia’s first and only chimpanzee sanctuary sanctioned by the FDA and working in partnership with Liberia’s government to ensure the future of wild populations. Currently LCRP is caring for more than twenty five chimpanzees, most of whom are under five years old and given the chance at a healthy life, may live up to 60 years.
Almost all of the individuals in the care of LCRP are orphans whose mothers and other family members were killed to be eaten while the young chimps were being kept alive to be sold into the local and international pet trade. Each month, more captive chimpanzees are confiscated, allowing for the enforcement of Liberia’s wildlife laws.
As it logically implies, naming the park after the confiscated chimpanzee demonstrates the care and concern the FDA and partners customarily exhibit for wildlife population in the country consistent with the dictates of the law of the Republic which protects the rights of wildlife. The clearing of the park from the clutch of the illegal occupants clearly provides a breathing space for the growth and development of the chimpanzees and all of their wild neighbors.
It can be safely estimated therefore, that the victory in redeeming Sapo from the hands of ruthless men marks the beginning of future victories. Indeed, the beauty of the forest is not just the conglomeration of those trees that obviously attract the eyes of passersby, but its constituent elements including wildlife of all sort. It can also be safely determined that nature is happy with the steps being applied by FDA and partners to sanctify the park that it may meaningfully stand as a long time sanctuary of wildlife as well as serving as archive for the generation of wildlife. Meanwhile, seven persons arrested during the clearing exercise have been sent to face court trial and face possible prosecution. As it stands given the frim determination of the FDA Authority the law on wildlife is being applied to meet its intended purpose. The Managing Director of the FDA Mr. C. Mike Doyen has always indicated management’s unbent position to ensure that the protection and conservation of wildlife population is kept to the letter. Accordingly, during a recent first ever celebration of World Chimpanzee Day in Monrovia the FDA management used the occasion to officially launch a Special Wildlife Confiscation Unit that will be responsible to confiscate wildlife species in and around the country.