Endangered species in Western Wild Life Corridor needs protection
7/17/2012 5:00:52 AM -
A GNA feature by Samuel Adadi Akapule
Bolgatanga, July 17, GNA- Poachers are having a field day in the Western Corridor as they threatened the existence of already endangered species with callous greed and selfishness, and often go unimpeded.
It may sound alarming but is true that from December 2011 to February 2012, five elephants have been killed at Kayoro in the Upper East Region.
Based upon a tip off one Bawa Wenyira suspected to have killed an elephant was arrested by a combined team of officials of Ghana Wildlife Division and Ghana Police Service.
Wenyira who was arrested with the carcass of the elephant as exhibition was kept in Police custody and subsequently bailed. He is yet to be tried in court.
The Western Wildlife Corridor which was created since the colonial times with national interest in mind was to create a link between the Mole National Park and Nazenga Reserve in Burkina Faso for easy movement of wildlife species.
The corridor was created along the Sissili River, which has a wide range of wild animals and biodiversity.
According to a feasibility study conducted by the Northern Savannah Biodiversity Conservation Project, the fauna in the corridor includes the African elephant, buffalo, roan, oribi, common duiker, buffon kob, hartebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, baboon, patas monkey, squirrel, python, cayman and green monkey.
The site is conducive for biodiversity conservation. It lies adjacent to Nazinga Wildlife Reserve in Burkina Faso. It is relatively undisturbed, and forms a critical part of the proposed wildlife corridor between Nazinga and Mole National Park, known as the Western Wildlife Corridor.
It has also been identified as one of the few remaining elephant ranges in Ghana. The wildlife population (including the African elephant) has, however, been rapidly declining due to poaching and habitat loss resulting from deforestation (fuel wood collection, bushfires and farming among other factors).
The corridor with all the importance and values attached since its creation has been maintained up to date through donor support from organisations such as the Inter-Church Cooperation, Global Environmental Facility, International Union of Conservation -Netherlands, Northern Savannah Biodiversity Conservation Project and the World Bank (WB) under the Sustainable Land and Water Management Project.
The WB project engages the nine surrounding communities including: Bassisan, Pedo, Banu, Kunchogor, Kawpun and Wuru in the Sissala East District and Kayoro, Katiu and Nakong in Kassena Nankana West District in various income-generating activities and capacity building for the conservation of wildlife.
The intervention is aimed at sustaining the management of the natural resources using a concept known as the Community Resource Management Areas.
Despite all these efforts, there is a renewed insurgence of poachers in the corridor particularly the Kayoro community which is affecting the efforts of all the nine communities' dream of the conservation of wildlife for the promotion of Eco-tourism which would in turn attract tourists to the area.
The primary objective of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana is wildlife protection and habitat/resource conservation for the sustainable benefits of present and future generations.
There is the need for government to empower the Wildlife Division to enable it discharge it duties effectively.
The Division should also intensify its education on the wise use of resources and management to protect wildlife.
Community Resource Management Committees, which are village-level structures, should be put in place to support the management and utilisation of wildlife resources.
There is the need to establish anti-poaching teams and the encouragement and motivation of members to complement the efforts of the wildlife guards to tackle illegal poaching and save animals' lives.
In Malawi for example, the system is working perfectly and Ghana needs to emulate it.
Ghanaians must rise up to fight, protect, conserve and preserve the remaining few endangered species especially the elephant population for future generation.
In next-door Burkina Faso it is against the law to kill endangered species. People in that country who breach the law are either convicted and imprisoned or are made to pay huge fines. No one in that country dares kill endangered species.