Enforce wildlife laws to protect primates – Wiafe

The closest living biological relatives to humans, Apes, Lemur, Monkeys and other Primate Species in Ghana are threatened with extinction due to uncontrolled human activities such as poaching and habitat destruction through deforestation.

Ghana has already lost red colobus Monkeys, one of the Primate Species with the rest critically endangered.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) globally more than half of the World’s Primates are at risk of extinction.

As a result, the Presbyterian University College, Ghana (PUCG) with funding from Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund is implementing a 16 months project on Conservation of endangered Primate Species in three Forest Reserves in Ghana namely, Atewa, Cape three Points and Tank -Off Forest.

As part of the project, a capacity building workshop has been organized for Wildlife Law enforcement officers and Journalists operating around the jurisdiction of the Atewa Range Forest Reserve specifically from East Akyem and Atewa East Districts.

The participants included Police officers, Forestry officials, Fire Service Personnel and the media.

Dr. Edward Wiafe, the Project Coordinator who doubles as the Dean of the Environmental Science Department of the Presbyterian University College ,Akuapem Campus told Starr News ,primates  play crucial roles in ecology as seed dispersers for many important tree/shrub species and responsible  for closbiomass of all frugivorous (fruit eating) species found within tropical rainforests.

He said the, ecological role imperative for the functioning of ecosystems supports human survival.

Dr. Wiafe also mentioned that, Primates carry relatively similar biological traits like human beings therefore are used for practical medical research such as testing the efficacy of medicines produced by Pharmaceutical companies before it is released for human consumption.

According to Dr.Wiafe, it is therefore important for Ghana and the World to save this species hence the need for empowerment of the Law Enforcement agencies of Ghana to enforce the Wildlife Laws and Wildlife Reserve Regulations, Act 1971 to help save endangered wildlife species from extinction.

Participants of the Program acknowledged that, enforcement of Wildlife Laws in Ghana has not been encouraging.

They blamed the situation on inadequate logistics and Funds, inadequate personnel ,Lenient punishment by courts ,risk involved in arresting heavily armed poachers in the jungle  ,interference ,absent of political Will and media failure to highlight plight of the sector to set agenda for the nation as done for the galamsey menace.


Source: Ghana/Starrfmonline.com/103.5FM/Kojo Ansah

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