Forestry Commission investigates four for alleged elephant poaching

The Forestry Commission is investigating four persons at Vamboi in the Sisala East Municipality for allegedly poaching an elephant.

The four are said to have decapitated the middle-aged elephant on seasonal movement from Burkina Faso.

Mr Bernard Asamoah-Boateng, Executive Director of Wildlife Division, who disclosed this said the Forestry Commission staff in collaboration with the security agencies had undertaken investigations and were able to locate the poacher.

“As I speak, the poacher has been apprehended and the case is with the Police,” he said.

The Wildlife Division, which is mandated to develop and manage all wildlife resources in the country, currently, manages two Zoos, five Ramsar Sites and 16 Protected Areas.

Preliminary wildlife information indicates that the population of many key species of wildlife is thriving, including; an estimated 2,181 elephants, 31,842 kobs, 4,810 hartebeest, 7,103 roan antelopes and 2,462 buffaloes.

Mr Asamoah-Boateng said the Wildlife Division has a solid relationship with the communities as they are major stakeholders in the wildlife management system.

He said in the past animals move freely between a contiguous forest between Burkina Faso and Ghana but as result of population increase, the forest had become fragmented, leading to impediment in animal movement.

The animals mostly spend time between the two countries depending on various factors, including; the availability of food and water which can support their living in Burkina Faso and Ghana.

“This has been the shared animals system between the two countries which we have been managing for a long time,” he said, adding that the elephants move to Ghana between April and August and go back to Burkina Faso.

“Unfortunately on April 13, this year on their normal travel system, one of the elephants was shot dead,” he said.

He said the Forestry Commission took the issue of the poaching seriously because Ghana was currently the Chair of African Elephant Fund Steering committee and so the protection of the elephant was the most ultimate.

It is in this direction that despite the COVID-19, the staff of the Wildlife Division are going about their normal duties contrary to public perception.

“The staff are on 24-hour duty call and are observing all the protocols that the Ministry of Health put across and working day and night to ensure that the animals are protected,” Mr Asamoah-Boateng added.

He said while there were certain animals that sometimes could be killed with a permit from the Division, no animal is allowed to be killed during the close season between August 1 and December except the grasscutter on permit.

He said the elephant was among the endangered animal and it is disturbing to hear that one was killed.

Mr Asamoah-Boateng said the Division was dealing with the challenges head-on by pursuing ecotourism ventures in the various protected areas to improve the economic contribution of Ghana’s wildlife to the nation’s economy and developing livelihood opportunities around wildlife for the benefit of local communities fringing wildlife protected areas.

Source: GNA

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