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04.11.2004 Regional News

NGO executing Forest reserve protection programme

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Takoradi, Nov. 4, GNA - Friends of the Nation (FON), a non-governmental organisation, is executing a project to protect the Takoradi Monkey Hill Forest reserve from encroachment and poaching.

The NGO was undertaking the project with financial support from the Netherlands Committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Siemenpuu Foundation.

Mr Don Mevuta, Executive Director of the NGO, announced this at a one-day workshop on the project in Takoradi on Thursday.

He said increasing pressure on land for urban development was effecting the development of the Forest reserve that was located at the Takoradi Township with remarkable amount of flora and fauna including monkeys.

He said the people encroached and polluted the reserve with domestic and industrial waste and the invasive exotic plant species also posed a problem.

Mr Mevuta said the FON would develop the reserve into an ecotourism destination to enhance its biodiversity.

He said a flora and fauna survey indicated that the reserve had a total of 112 species of plant, 58 species of birds and seven species of large and medium mammals including three species of monkeys one of which is threatened.

Mr Philip Kwesi Nkrumah, Shama-Ahanta East Metropolitan Chief Executive, said the Metropolitan Assembly has formed a Tourism Development Committee towards the promotion of tourism in the area. He urged stakeholders to the Committee to work hard adding that the Assembly had planned to establish a zoo in the area and a heritage centre at Sekondi European Town.

He called on stakeholders in the tourism sector to collaborate efforts to solve the problems facing the tourism towards the socio-economic development of the area.

Dr Erasmus Owusu, acting Executive Director of the Ghana Wildlife Society, called on the metropolitan assembly to pass a byelaw to prevent people from encroaching the reserve.

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