A report including Wildlife Trafficking Threats and Assessment has been validated in Monrovia by the Liberian stakeholders who are involved within the enforcement of wildlife conservation and protection.
The Forestry Development Authority (FDA), the National Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Liberian National Police, the Environmental Protection Agency, among others produced the validation exercise held in Monrovia on September 28, 2018.
The participants agreed to form a coordinated front to ensure that wildlife abuse in every form or manner is curtailed as a way of providing maximum protection for the wildlife population throughout the country.
Presenting a background of the wildlife illegal trade and trafficking threats assessment report to the body as a basis to make an informed decision, the Biodiversity Conservation specialist from USAID-WABiC, Michael Bessike, called on the concerned stakeholders to take ownership of the study and make it institutionally prudent as far as the intended purpose is concerned.
He recounted several instances of illegal wildlife trade and trafficking being practiced in the sub-region and elsewhere, something he said is gradually terminating the existence of wildlife.
He then strongly challenged the implementing agencies to see the document as the panacea for wildlife conservation and protection.
He advised them to make wildlife trade more risky and less attractive by letting the daggers of the law to fall decisively on those bent on the illicit and unwholesome wildlife trade aimed at profiteering. He said the protection and conservation of wildlife forms a vital component of national security services which Liberia must adapt to save wildlife generation.
Earlier in his opening remarks, FDA Acting Managing Director, Joseph Tally reaffirmed Liberia’s readiness to comply with the terms and conditions in combating illegal wildlife trade as required under international best practice.
Mr. Tally said the need to protect wildlife and conserve them in the wild remains one of the most civilized measures or actions any nation takes.
He identified wildlife trafficking as a multi-billion dollar illicit business that has and continues to deplete Africa’s iconic animal population such as elephants, chimpanzees, pangolins and sea turtles which he said face the risk of significant decline or complete termination.
He noted that the war against wildlife population is traditionally waged by people who are often well-armed, equipped, as well as organized networks of customary poachers, criminals and corrupt officials who exploit porous borders and feeble situations to make a profit from illicit wildlife trade within the sub-region.
Among other things, Mr. Tally recommended national and regional cooperation between and amongst enforcement entities to prosecute and adjudicate wildlife-related crimes as the best way to curtail the crime.
He also named the establishment of a Confiscation Unit at the FDA as one of the many checkpoints to deter wildlife abuse in the country.
He told the workshop that FDA has formed a sustained coalition with other partners like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop what he calls National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan intended to successfully implement wildlife protection and conservation.
He then applauded USAID-WABICC authorities who saw the vision to commission the consultant of Born Free USA who conducted the study that has become a useful national instrument.
He hopes the government of Liberia will brace these efforts through political will as it has always done to ensure that threatened fauna and flora populations are protected through sustained law enforcement measures.
“FDA will help to push the government of Liberia to protect threatened fauna and flora by imposing strict deterrent policies that will reduce demand for threatened species products consistent with commitments made under CITES,” he stressed.