Liberia Colorfully Observes World Wildlife Day

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MONROVIA — The government of Liberia, through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and its collaborating partners working in the forestry sector on Wednesday March 3, 2021 observed World Wildlife Day in a lively fashion as far as the intent and purpose of the day is concerned.

Customarily, FDA collaborates  with the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF), Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue Protection (LCRP), Humane Society International (HSI), Fauna &Flora International (FFI), Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary, Conservation International (CI), Society for the Conservation of Nature in Liberia (SCNL), Elephant Research and Conservation (ELRECO), Species Working Group of Liberia (SWGL), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)    amongst others in sustainably managing the Liberian forest.        

Organized and executed under the global theme, “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet, the well-attended ceremony took place at the famous Providence Island located in Central Monrovia and was outstandingly graced by several diplomatic missions accredited near the capital including the European Union delegation, embassy of the United Kingdom, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations (UNFAO), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Respectively, these diplomatic missions urged the FDA and its partners to ensure unimpeded care and protection for the forest and all of its constituent elements including endangered species. While describing the forest as “golden treasure” they pledged to work with FDA and conservation partners and hoped for a sustained collaboration if Liberia is to remain a beacon of hope as it relates to the conservation of nature in the sub-region.

In separate remarks, the collaborating partners pledged  to closely work together to ensure that the true intent of the World Wildlife Day is achieved at all levels, especially in Liberia where the forest and all its elements face potential threats from illegal activities. They called for the political will of the government in terms of law enforcement, without which the efforts being exerted to protect the forest and wildlife could just be in vain. 

Miss Deborah Mensah from the Department of Forestry, University of Liberia gave the historical background of World Wildlife Day while Mr. Abenego Gbarway, Wildlife manager and Coordinator of Wildlife Crime Task Force, provided status report on the successes and challenges in combating wildlife crime in Liberia. He candidly extolled the intervention on the part of the partners and used the occasion to call for augmented financial and technical supports towards the fight against wildlife crime.           

The Technical Manager of Conservation Department at the FDA, Blamah Goll who earlier served as keynote speaker reemphasized the need for sustained livelihoods projects to benefit those forest dependents as a way of thwarting illegal activities in the forest. Mr. Goll advised the partners to practically convert the awareness program into actions that could neutralize the temptation of putting pressure on the forest for ends meet. He acknowledged the conservation practices used by our forefathers; something which he said contributed the current existence of the forest.      

World Wildlife Day is a global initiative which obligates all countries to celebrate and raise awareness on the importance of the protection and conservation of biodiversity while practically enforcing the law that prohibits illegal destruction of the forest and its biodiversity by poachers.

It can be recalled that on 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March – the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973 – as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.

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