…estimates US$2m revenue loss
The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), has condemned the recent killing of two elephants at the Mole Game Reserve, describing the incident as ‘loss of tourism revenue to the State’.
The event occurred last week Thursday at Mole in the West Gonja District of the Northern Region, where the two animals were alleged to have strayed to graze on farmlands belonging to indigenes of the town.
Reports indicate, the youth who shot dead the elephants, also turned their weapons on a team of law enforcement officers, deployed to herd the animals back to the park, assaulting them before seizing their AK47 rifles.
The Manager for Product Development and Investments at GTA, Mr. Ben Anane-Nsiah, told the Goldstreet Business that the incident at Mole has already denied the country a substantial amount of tourism revenue.
A recent report indicates that, the death of a young elephant by ivory poachers, or through deliberate killing, has a commercial loss to tourism.
Such a loss could be valued at more than US$1.6 million, which is the amount the animal would have contributed to the economy had it lived to its fullest lifespan of 70 years.
The report, ‘iworry’, published by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), described the tremendous value that an elephant adds to tourism over many decades, comparing this to the relatively small one-off sum of about US$21,000 that ivory traders earn from the tusks of elephants.
But Mr. Anane-Nsiah, explained that the value of the two elephants to tourism growth in a single year would have raked in an estimated US$2 million.
“We know what Kenya, Tanzania and others are doing with elephants for their tourism sector. It’s a shame that such a thing is happening at Mole.” he said.
Poaching and the secret killing of animals have been the biggest threat at the Mole National Park over the years. Reports indicate, poachers target elephants and antelopes for a lucrative Chinese market in the area.
Sources say, officers who have encountered these poachers, claim they are usually armed with sophisticated weapons and mostly operate during rainy season when the grasses grow thick to provide hideouts.
The last time poachers killed an officer at the Park was in 2002, but since then, many clashes have been recorded with several casualties.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe