Liberia’s State of the Art Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Conservation Center Dedicated -Gov’t, foreign diplomats pledge support to FDA, LCRP
A grand opening ceremony for Liberia’s new state of the art Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Conservation Center took place on Friday May 28, 2021 in Charlesville, Margibi County. Characterized as a milestone project in the history of the nation’s conservation drive, the center is the result of the sustained collaborative efforts of Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection (LCRP), the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and many key partners and supporters from both in and outside of Liberia.
The exciting dedication ceremony was graced by key government officials, conservation partners, and foreign diplomats representing the European Union, United Kingdom, and the United States. The event served to further promote initiatives to save this critically endangered species and promote national and regional conservation as well as community development and tourism in the country.
Performing the dedication ceremony on behalf of the President of Liberia, George M. Weah, Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. saluted the far-reaching dream of the founders of Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection, Jim and Jenny Desmond in partnership with the FDA, and promised the government’s unwavering devotion and support to the country’s biodiversity conservation initiatives.
He used the occasion to recognize and praise the European Union, United Kingdom, and United States government, among others for their unwavering support in ensuring Liberia remains an internationally cherished home of rich biodiversity, forest treasures and other natural resources.
Minister Kemayah further assured that the Government of Liberia will increase its support to the FDA and its partners which continue to see marked improvement in forest governance. He expressed optimism, stating that the government will stand by the FDA and its partners in the truest sense of the word, as they fight to curb illegal bush meat trade and poaching, adding, “There is no justification for the commission of forest crimes. Humans have lives and the lives of humans must be protected, chimpanzees have lives and the lives of chimpanzees must be protected….we know for the Desmonds, the objective for this center is there will be no more orphans…there won’t be any orphans if there is no further killings of chimpanzees…collective responsibility as a people to join in the unwavering effort of the government to ensure chimpanzees are protected.” He then called for increased care and protection for the forest and biodiversity – “biodiversity is key to our species’ survival.”
He gave special thanks to infant orphan ‘Mary Beauty’, being cared for full time by Ms. Desmond, as a Chimpanzee Ambassador and commended LCRP’s founders for their conservation initiatives saying “if we had more of the Desmonds upholding the principle of selflessness, not only Liberia but the world would be a better place.”
FDA Managing Director, C. Mike Doryen categorically maintained that FDA will continue to execute its statutory mandate along with other agencies, such as the Ministry of Justice, to ensure that the will of illegal bush meat traders and poachers is suppressed, minimized, if not totally eliminated. He said, as a result of the growing success in enforcing Liberia’s wildlife laws, the open sale of bushmeat has drastically reduced. He thanked the LCRP family, Jim and Jenny Desmond, in particular for the level at which they are cooperating with the FDA in ensuring that Liberia’s wildlife protection and conservation efforts are successful and looked forward to continued collaboration. He outlined the successes and challenges being faced by the FDA and conveyed his thanks to Pres. Weah for recently approving the donation of several vehicles for FDA’s operations.
The Ambassadors of the European Union, H.E. Laurent Delahousse and United Kingdom, H.E. Neil Bradley and the United States Economic Growth Director Mr. John Pasch, on behalf of Ambassador Michael McCarthy lauded the FDA and LCRP for the landmark initiative and pledged their respective governments’ continued support for the protection and conservation of chimpanzees and unique biodiversity. While they celebrated Liberia’s progress to date, they underlined the seriousness of environmental crime and emphasized the need to continue and strengthen efforts to preserve Liberia’s natural heritage for generations to come.
Founded in 2016, LCRP is Liberia’s premier rescuer and protector of chimpanzees from the clutches of illegal bush meat and pet traders. The organization collaborates with local and international partners and government agencies fighting wildlife crime and promoting conservation, such as the FDA, to care for rescued chimpanzees while developing long term strategies to combat the illegal trade and assure the conservation of chimpanzees, and other wildlife species, set aside by law to be protected consistent with national and international protocols and conventions.