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Government launches closed season for wildlife

Benito Owusu BioE3ERGT Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Lands and Forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio

Fri, 29 Jul 2022 Source: classfmonline.com

The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, responsible for Lands and Forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio has today, Friday, 29th July 2022, launched the 2022 Closed Season for wildlife observation on the theme; "Wildlife is critical to our welfare, protect wildlife, protect nature and save lives" at the Accra Zoo.

In his submission, the Deputy Minister announced that the 2022 close season begins from August 1 to December 1, 2022, during which a ban will be placed on hunting, capturing, and destroying wildlife animals as stipulated in the Wildlife Conservation Regulations, L.I 685 of 1971.

He said that the institutionalisation of the closed season is one way to protect the wildlife species as it provides the necessary conditions needed for the animals to procreate, nurse, and nurture young ones for replenishment.

He added that wild animals contribute significantly to the protection of the environment and without them, the environment or forests cannot thrive as they should. "Protecting them, therefore, at all cost is the sure way to safeguard the environment, especially when the impacts of climate change are increasingly becoming a threat to the planet earth and our very survival."

Mr. Owusu-Bio alluded that the Ministry is, therefore, committed to ensuring sustainable management and utilisation of these resources, and currently, the Wildlife Bill is before Parliament to be passed into law, adding that when this law comes into being, it will provide the legal framework to support the effective management of the resources.

Speaking in an interview with the media, he warned that those who will go against this law in the next four months to hunt or capture any wild animal whatsoever will face the full rigor of the law.

The Deputy Minister urged the Wildlife Division, which has the mandate to protect wildlife in Ghana, to be more committed to its duty of ensuring that our wild animals are protected for future generations.

He noted that through government interventions and partners, wildlife rangers and forest guards are being given the necessary training and adequately equipped to effectively protect all natural resources which include wildlife.

He continued that the Ministry through the Commission is also promoting the establishment of CREMAs to empower the communities to protect and sustain wildlife and forest resources in Off-reserve buffer areas.

Also in his speech, Mr. Owusu-Bio disclosed that one of the key priorities for the Ministry is to open up new zoos in all the 16 regional capitals across the country starting with at least four this year in Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi, and Tamale.

He commended the efforts of the leadership of the Forestry Commission for the new developments and upgrades of the visitor’s reception facilities at the Accra zoo and hoped that the same upgrades will be extended to the Kumasi zoo.

Katakyie Kwasi Bumagama II, Omanhene of Sefwi Wiawso traditional area, Acting Chairman of the Forestry Commission Board and Chairman at the event described the importance of the closed season as a valuable step that will help boost the number of wild animals and preserve wildlife as a whole.

Katakyire called on all Ghanaians especially the traditional leaders to be circumspect during the closed season as he said some of these wild animals represent their totem.

"The wildlife division and the Forestry Commission will need the support of all especially the traditional leaders to protect, manage and conserve these resources."

He also stated that with the effort of the wildlife division and the support of Ghanaians, he believes that this closed season will not only help conserve wildlife but also augment them to promote the country’s culture, custom, heritage, ecotourism, and economic development of the nation.

Bernard Asamoah Boateng, the Executive Director for the wildlife division of the Forestry Commission on his part explained that the annual closed season is a critical regulatory measure adopted by the Wildlife Division to control the utilization and ensure the sustainability of wildlife.

He added that the closed season serves as a respite for wild animals during their breeding period as well as to protect the wildlife species including elephants, pangolin, parrots, porcupine, civet cats, and bongo antelopes among others.

The Director disclosed that last year, the division in line with its enforcement and protection mandate, arrested 144 illegal hunters and prosecuted 57 of them with the rest in various stages of prosecution.

Mr. Boateng in his address appealed to hunters and dealers in the wildlife enterprises to work within the framework of the law during the closed season and be circumspect during the open season and obtain the requisite licenses for their trade, upholding the principles of the Close Season.

Some NGOs and security services present at the event were also given an opportunity to point out their strategy on how they will help ensure that the closed season is effectively observed by all.

Source: classfmonline.com