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Environmental NewsGeneral

FDA dismisses claims of chimpanzees’ attack as false

The Forestry Development Authority (FDA) says its investigation team has found a recent report suggesting that an alleged group of chimpanzees came out of the forest and invaded Gbarrblain Town in Electoral District #2, Nimba County was completely false.

According to a press release issued Wednesday, 2 March 2022, FDA labeled the report as an orchestrated tale designed to raise false alarm and confusion in the minds of the public.

It was reported recently that the group of chimpanzees attacked the town, destroyed several houses, and wounded a woman, thereby causing pandemonium among villagers. 

The report further indicated that because of this alleged attack, villagers ran helter-skelter, sustaining injuries and requiring medical assistance.

But following its investigation, the FDA has called on residents of Gbarrblain Town in Nimba County to be calmed, noting that they have conducted joint local protection and invasion of chimpanzees in their community.

The FDA said that because of the sounding nature of the report from the county, they led wildlife professionals from the FDA with partner chimpanzee experts from Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection (LCRP) and local joint security to launch an investigation and fact-finding mission. 

“Citizens of Gbarrblain Town inform the FDA investigation team that the news is false and misleading and chimpanzees did not attack their community. such rumors are intentionally undermining collaborative efforts by national and international partners and local communities to protect wildlife” the release quoted.

The release disclosed that the false stories inaccurately represent chimpanzees and cause people to incorrectly perceive their nature, ultimately positioning them as potential enemies so their hunting and killing can be justified by illegal hunters, poachers, traffickers and traders.

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The release noted that Chimpanzees are the villagers’ closest neighbors. 

It pointed out that chimpanzees are not usually aggressive and do not consider human beings as enemies because like all animals, they can only fight to defend themselves against unprovoked attacks.

Meanwhile, the FDA warns that the law protecting wildlife, including critically endangered chimpanzees, will continue to be enforced and violators punished in line with Liberia’s national legislation and penal codes. 

In addition, the FDA stresses that chimpanzees are one of Liberia’s greatest treasures and that we are especially fortunate to have them here, as they are key to the survival and sustainability of our important forest ecosystems.  

“FDA and LCRP are working in partnership with affected communities in Nimba to strengthen peaceful coexistence between humans and chimpanzees,” the release said. 

“The LCRP team recently conducted a train the trainer workshop at their sanctuary site in Margibi with funding from the British Embassy in Monrovia,” it noted further.

The FDA release continues that participants from FDA and graduates from Nimba County Community College and the Forestry Training Institute learned about the conservation status of chimpanzees, their ecology and behavior, causes and consequences of human-chimpanzee conflict and avoidance and mitigation strategies. 

The release concluded that the FDA will establish eleven community Human Chimpanzee Relations teams to carry out awareness-raising in their respective communities in March.

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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