US Supports Elephant Conservation and Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation

MONROVIA: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with Elephant Research and Conservation (ELRECO), celebrated the successful completion of its Human Wildlife Conflict Activity on January 29 at the U.S. Embassy. Development partners and representatives from Liberian government ministries and agencies came together to commemorate the program’s official closing.

The Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Activity, funded by USAID, assisted the Government of Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. Seventy-nine communities across Lofa, Gbarpolu, and Grand Cape Mount counties benefited from the program. For decades, farmers in these forest communities have found themselves in direct confrontation with elephants and other wildlife. Sadly, some of these conflicts have resulted in the death of community residents. Forest elephants have also been killed in retaliation by angry community dwellers in the past.

Over the past two years, the program successfully supported the Forestry Development Authority and impacted communities in mitigating human-wildlife conflicts. One of the key achievements of the program is assisting communities to safeguard their farms with practical solutions, thereby mitigating potential conflicts with elephants. By offering viable alternatives and promoting non-confrontational approaches, USAID helped communities create sustainable solutions for both wildlife conservation and the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities.

USAID/Liberia Mission Director, Mr. Jim Wright, told the assembled group that sustained leadership and commitment is essential to build on these gains so more forest communities can successfully mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.

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