Ghana needs to attach more urgency to the management of its wildlife sector, if it is to halt the alarming depletion of resources in the sector, the Executive Director of Ghana Wildlife Society, Eric Lartey, has stressed
Speaking at a media briefing on the state of the country’s wildlife, Lartey called on government to expedite the passage of the Wildlife Resource Management Bill, to ensure sanity in the sector.
Ghana’s wildlife is being decimated by unsustainable practices such as illegal and unsustainable logging of the country’s primary forest and illegal hunting, trapping, killing and trading of fast dwindling wildlife resources, including rare and protected species such as pangolins.
However, the Ghana Wildlife Resource Management Bill 2014, which consolidates and revises the existing laws relating to wildlife and protected areas, has continued to remain in limbo as it has been in and out of Parliament for the past three to four years.
Lartey indicated that, the passage of the Bill will give the legal mandate to communities in such protected areas to participate in the management of wildlife resources in the country.
He pointed out that the Bill will present a very excellent opportunity to see to all the existing issues reflected in the current management of protected areas.
“In the past, communities within protected areas have not had the opportunity to get involved in the management of resources within and outside those areas.”
He stressed that civil societies, in the sector, have made all the needed input expected, in terms of devolution of power to the communities to get involved in the management of both forest and wildlife resources.
Devolving wildlife management to local communities is the most effective way of achieving these goals for Ghana’s precious and rare wildlife.
The Bill also recognizes the need to tidy up the legal regime that existed in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
He disclosed that there have been drastic declines in the population of various species, speaking to the situation of vultures.
“The five species that we have in Ghana now, the least threatened one is classified as endangered, all the four other species are classified as critically endangered.
“So all this must give us a clear indication, as a country, that if we don’t pay attention to some of these legal issues, we will have a crisis at hand in the near future,” Lartey revealed
The effort to have this Bill passed is being driven by Tropenbos Ghana, ARocha Ghana and Friends of the Earth Ghana.
By Joshua W. Amlanu