MONROVIA: The Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and Species Working Group of Liberia (SWGL) received funding from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) through the African Elephant Fund to implement the project named and styled: “Strengthening Capacities Of Law Enforcement agencies to combat the killing of elephants in key conservation landscapes in Liberia in the face of Covid 19”.
Basically, the project aims at putting in place effective mechanism to reduce the killing of elephants and illegal trade in their parts and derivatives. Already a number of rangers and wildlife task force members have been trained on intelligence gathering, arrest procedures as well as techniques in conducting investigation as they relate to wildlife crimes. More importantly, one training workshop was conducted in Greenville City Sinoe County earlier this year whereby rangers, police, immigration officers, city solicitors, magistrates and ccounty attorneys were trained.
According to the Project Coordinator, Mr. Abednego Gbarway, the project has also recorded success in conducting Joint investigative missions in several high density elephant areas with a team comprising FDA, INTERPOL, Transnational Organised Crime Unit (TOCU) and Major Crime Investigation Department.
It’s reported through the investigation that between January 2013 to June 2023, Liberia lost 19 forest elephants. In order to end this menace, the project supported joint patrols by FDA and Community Ecoguards in Sapo National Park, proposed Krahn Bassa protected area and Gola Forest National Park using SMART to improve planning.
Meanwhile, under the Community Ecoguard Program, communities and FDA staff are involved in regular patrols to monitor and record illegal activities in protected and proposed protected areas. Through this program, communities are employed and receive monthly salaries. It promotes community participation in management of protected and proposed protected areas.