Rural News

In Rivercess: Elephants Draws First Blood

Rampaging elephants in Rivercess has left one man dead and several properties destroyed.The Management of the Liberia Tree and Trading Company has threatened to pull out of the county, if an agreement is not reach to address the elephant’s invasion of their concession.

“We will ask government to relocate us if we can’t reach any understanding with the traditional people and inhabitants of the conception area”, LTTC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President, Mr. Ricks Yeah Toweh stated.

The LTTC threats to pull out of the county comes amidst a weekend meeting of traditional leaders, citizens and local government authorities aimed at finding a solution to the elephant melee.

“If traditional leaders demand anything, we are ready to meet such request, if we can with the hope that it helps to resolve the situation with all parties. If all efforts fail, I think we will have to move out”, Yeah Toweh said.

The LTTC CEO confirmed the company’s promise to build only ‘nice road’ as part of the company’s social responsibility to the community. Mr. Toweh said “we did not specify the type of road, but we agreed to assist the community in whatsoever development venture they wish to undertake provided they ask, we will help them”.

No reason was given why the playful and non violent elephant would now turn destructive and kill. According to our investigations, the elephant normally appeared in towns to be feed by town’s folks and then it later entertains town folks by dancing to choruses, as the elephant shakes it floppy ears, pulls out the tucks and whip up its tail.   

Three weeks ago section of LTTC’s newly acquired 59,000 hectres for conception areas came under wild life attack of an elephant, killing one staff and destroyed one vehicle and other personal effects as well attacked a yellow machines belonging to the company.

The incident according to the CEO has caused a loss of about US$ 4340,000 within the two weeks LTTC is a Liberian company in joint venture partnership with a foreign based firm, Mandra.

Currently the company has 28 expatriates and with plan to employ about 500 locals and is paying worker US$ 150. Per cubic meter, after it met the government’s requirement worth US$800,000 including taxes to operate for 25-year.

Mr. Toweh further explained that three weeks ago a team of eight inspectorates including his personnel were dispatched to inspect some cut blocks of threes in the forest but were attacked by the elephant along with two vehicles, one belonging to Forestry Development Authority (FDA).

According to him subsequently another attack took place in which an operator was almost lynched from a yellow machine. “This raise alarm among the staff and they fled for life, one was killed by the elephant this cause us to lodge a formal complaint with FDA”. Mr. Toweh said the remains of Albert Duo, 48 has been transferred to Monrovia for burial.

Sources has hinted that some insiders of the traditional area have earlier on advised the company staff never to  raise up arm or any form of harmful  materials against  the elephant because it  was not harmful, but if provoke it could.

An advise however, an eyewitness source hinted the victim Albert Duo failed to do rather he accordingly decided to use a gun  to fire at  the elephant, while some other used some harmful weapon to fight back, thus causing the death of Mr. duo.

The City Major of Cessto, Madam Sarah Mardarweh Zeo in reaction to the situation bemoaned the death of the LTTC’ staff, distributing the incident as unfortunate and hope would not be repeated.

Madam Zeo pleaded with the traditional leaders, citizens of the conception area to close rank with government authorities in Rivercess in finding a workable solution to the impasse in the name of development.

“If this cause the re visitation of the company’s social responsibility to the conception community, like it be done to enhance peace, employment and development for the people”. Madam Zeo said “we are equally so appealing to the LTTC management not to pull out of it operations area, because it only take a sober reflection and understanding to resolve such a problem”.

The Cesto City Major called on the FDA to access the situation on ground that it has to do with wild life. She question while a harmless animal would turn harmful to destroy and kill, she believes it was not possible.

Hon.  Zeo stressed that if possible stakeholders should see reason to create a zoon to probably domesticate the rampaging elephants which if done can serve a good purpose for tourism and generate fun.

Earlier the Rivercess citizens at a meeting held in Buchanan, appealed to LTTC management to employ about 60 per cent of its citizen, while another request is to opening of an office in Cessto for all companies operating in the county instead of Buchanan, Grand Bassa.

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