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26.08.2003 General News

Poachers Resort to Lethal Booze to Trap Monkeys

By African Church Information Service
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In a certain area of Takoradi, a harbour city in Ghana's Western region, the sight of drunken monkeys wobbling across the streets has become common.

These monkeys, which live in a nearby sanctuary known as Monkey Hill, located at the heart of the harbour city, do not intend to bluff anybody by their strange behaviour.

They are victims of the latest poaching tactic in the region. Poachers drug them by lacing bananas, a monkey delicacy, with a powerful local alcoholic drink known as akpeteshie.

The booze renders them helpless against the poachers, who then easily trap them, either for their meat, which is a delicacy to some natives, or for sale to tourists, whose demand for the animal is high.

According to Jacob Oti-Awere, Western Regional Manager of Ghana Tourist Board, the indiscriminate drugging and killing of the monkeys has reduced the once highly populated monkey family in the area to only 70.

The situation, he said recently, calls for concerted efforts on the part of stakeholders and residents of the Monkey Hill community, to prevent the possible wiping out of the endangered species of Olives Colobus and African Green monkeys in the forest reserve.

Condemning the poachers, Oti-Awere, expressed concern that the Monkeys Hill Eco-tourism Project, which aims at capitalising on the unique location of the reserve in the heart of Takoradi, was under threat.

The project is a collaborative effort between Ghana Tourist Board, non-governmental organisations and the local communities, towards preserving the sanctuary.

Donors in Finland and the Netherlands are considering supporting the project with funding to the tune of 60,000 Euros. But the lates development has raised concern among the project's development partners, prompting Oti-Awere to intensify appeals to the public to assist the police to arrest the poachers.

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