Of violating wildlife protection law
The Forestry Development Authority (FDA) has accused Gbarpolu County Senator Botoe Kanneh of undermining the implementation of Liberia’s Wildlife Protection Law.
FDA’s Forest Ranger Ali Kais, who manages the agency’s confiscation and anti-smuggling unit, alleges that Senator Kanneh continues to interfere with the implementation of law on wildlife protection.
According to him, Senator Kanneh and her bodyguards allegedly attacked Forest Rangers at the Sawmill Check Point on Monday this week, when a suspect was arrested for carrying 17 pieces of dried bush meat (Monkey) including a living baby monkey.
Ali notes that Senator Kanneh’s alleged action poses a serious threat against forest rangers’ operation to protect wildlife species across the nation.
He reveals that recently, Rangers were attacked at VOA Junction in Brewerville by Senator Kanneh and her bodyguards after eight bags of bushmeat were confiscated at Janet Check Point, but they were forcefully taken away subsequently.
He reminds that Liberia is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which is intended to protect wildlife here.
He says “An Act adopting the National Wildlife Conservation and Protected Area Management Law of Liberia” was approved on October 5, 2016, which must be enforced by Forest Rangers and other security sectors of Liberia
“We cannot sit here as a government and allow single hunter or group of individuals to destroy our biodiversity; it is important to note that these wildlife species attract tourism and the country can benefit as a whole.” He added.
Ali continues that a suspect arrested recently was also found in possession of six single barrel shots and immediately turned over to the Liberia National Police (LNP) for the prosecution at the Gbarma Magisterial Court in Gbarma District, Gbarpolu County.
The suspect identified as Peter Wonmein was charged for violating the Wildlife Protection Law of Liberia and forwarded to the Gbarma Magisterial Court on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, for prosecution.
Meanwhile, the Associate Magistrate of the Gbarma Magisterial Court, Magistrate Boima H. Cooper, who presided over the case, charged Suspect Wonmein with three counts, including illegal possession of bushmeat, a protected animal, and hunting of wildlife.
Magistrate Cooper fined Wonmein US$250.00 to be pay in the Government of Liberia’s Revenue and the 17 bodies of dried meat were confiscated.
For his part, Wildlife Protection Officer assigned in Western Liberia Jallah Fahnbulleh says prevention and protection of wildlife species are critical to preserving the biodiversity of Liberia.
Mr. Fahnbulleh explains and confiscation of protected animals and prosecution of violators will go a long way in curtailing the hunting and killing of wildlife species.
He says killing and selling of wildlife should not be the only alternative to livelihood, noting that if government and partners are not robust to battle wildlife crime now, the endangered species will be extinct in the near future.
This paper has not contacted Senator Kanneh, a former dried meat seller, for comment on these allegations.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/senate-probes-botoe-kannehs-complaint/ Editing by Jonathan Browne