Home Economy Poachers Ransack Sapo National Park …As Jalay Town Residents Appeal To FDA Boss For Intervention; Protection

Poachers Ransack Sapo National Park …As Jalay Town Residents Appeal To FDA Boss For Intervention; Protection

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By: Linda Gbartie

MONROVIA/SINOE: Residents of Jalay Town in Sinoe County have called on President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to issue Executive Order for the protection of Sapo National Park in Sinoe County.

Residents of the town also disclosed that the Park is under serious threats.

A statement issued on April 17, 2024, from the leadership of Jalay Town stated that the heightened and wanton threats posed by poachers and illegal miners to the Sapo National Park is eroding its beauty and dignity.

According to the residents, Jalay Town bears the title of the park headquarters therefore, they want President Boakai to issue an Executive Order that could accelerate the robust protection of the park.

The residents also suggested to the government of Liberia that the recruitment of forest rangers is afforded means of motivation to enable them effectively police the park.

Jalay Town residents complained that since the creation of the park in 1983 by the then People’s Redemption Council who named and conferred the park headquarters on Jalay Town, there has been no sign of touristic flavor, clinic for the residents and no means of communication.

“We’re the park headquarters, yet we live in darkness, we have no safe drinking water, no communication network, nothing at all, yet we are supposed to bear the title as park headquarters,” Jalay Town residents said.

Additionally, the residents termed the situation as mockery and expressed their fear that if nothing is done to abort the current situation, history will harshly judge those who sit by idly and see this God given treasure painfully subsumed to untimely death from the hands of poachers and illegal miners.

“Unfortunately, the road leading to the park headquarters is as narrow as the size of as needle and it shows no semblance of a road leading to a touristic site,” the residents added.

Furthermore, the residents alleged that some international partners are using the name of the park to raise funds for their own benefits.

“I’m not a politician; I don’t believe in rhetoric; I’m a pragmatist and I depend on God to show me directions,” Mr. Merab noted while responding to the many concerns of the residents.

Mr. Merab said the interest of the people comes first and foremost and that remains the priority of the government as it relates to the ARREST agenda.

Meanwhile, according to the residents, the new FDA Managing Director regretted the situation and appealed to them to bear little patience as his administration will do all in its power to make sure that they benefit.

The Jalay Town residents mentioned that the FDA Managing Director assured them that he is a servant and not master as such, the FDA under his watch, will do the needful to truly serve the needs of the people as well as set a new pace to redeem the image of FDA from the dustbin that it may once again shine nationalistically and internationally.

This paper has also gathered that Liberia’s largest protected area of rainforest, the Sapo National Park, is also being subjected to illegal mining activities by predominantly foreign nationals, believed to be Ivoirians, Ghanaians, Burkinabes, Serra Leoneans, among others.

The Sapo National Park is located in Sinoe County and in the Upper Guinean forest ecosystem, a biodiversity hotspot that has “the highest mammal species diversity of any region in the world”, according to Conservation International, and in the Western Guinean lowland forests ecoregions, according to the World wide Fund for Nature’s ecoregions classification scheme.
In 1976, the Liberian Forestry Development Authority was created to manage and preserve the country’s forest resources, but preservation of the park seems to be a huge challenge as illegal mining activities within it are on the increase.

It has been gathered that those foreign nationals involved into the mining in the Country’s reserve are also engaged in other criminal activities including sexual exploitation, human trafficking and drugs smuggling, among others.

Other sources also hinted this paper that foreign nationals who are considered buyers and brokers are the forces are in the forefront of the park’s looting.

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