The institution of a closed season, which forbids the hunting, capturing or destroying of wild species throughout the country between the first of August and the first of December, is the result of research carried out in the early 1970s by Ghana’s Wildlife Division in Forest Reserves and Protected Areas. Anyone caught hunting, capturing or destroying wild species in any region of the country during these months is subject to prosecution by the government, which is supported by the Wildlife Conservation Regulations, L.I. 685 of 1971.
“The study made it abundantly clear that most animals between the months of August and December are either pregnant or have just given birth, and they are often accompanied by very young offspring who need their parents to take care of them because, for some animals, it takes about a month after birth before they can stand on their own.” Bernard Asamoah Boateng, director of the wildlife division reveals. “Thus, a mother’s care is necessary. In order to conserve the animal population, it was decided to implement a close season.”
The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, at the announcement of the 2022 closed season at the Accra Zoological Gardens reaffirmed the government’s resolve to explore the Legislative Instrument to the latter in the event that citizens’ actions violate the law and endanger the nation’s flora and fauna.
“During this period, the hunting, capturing or destroying of any wildlife species is absolutely prohibited. The only animal that could be hunted during the Close Season is the grasscutter (greater cane rat) but with a valid license issued by Wildlife Division. Any person who contravenes any provision of these regulations shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine” says Mr Owusu-Bio.
The 2022 World Wildlife Day celebration, which was held on March 23, drew attention to the conservation status of some of the most critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora and drove discussions toward implementing solutions to conserve them, according to the deputy minister in charge of forestry speaking on the theme “Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration,” Mr Owusu-Bio.
“In recent times, the Forestry Commission has witnessed increased cases of poaching and destruction of wildlife species in most of the 21 Protected Areas (PAs) in Ghana. Indiscriminate hunting, bushfires and unregulated farming activities are other ways through which wildlife is destroyed. Poaching activities if not checked will bring some of the wild animal species under serious threat of extinction.
The nation’s woodlands are homes to endangered species like the African savannah elephant, pangolins, bongo, and seabed cat according to the IUCN REDDLIST. Consequently, the need to jealously safeguard our animals in order to preserve biological diversity.
Trophy hunting, a practice that is seen as dangerous to the wild population, may not be common in the West African nation. But the population of the country’s wild animals, such as the royal antelope, harnessed bushbuck, maxwell’s duiker, black duiker, and brushtail porcupine, is being impacted by domestic celebrations, consumption, and export.
“In accordance with its enforcement protection mandate, the Division detained 144 poachers from the various reserves and protected areas last year. Of them, 57 cases resulted in successful prosecutions, while the remaining cases are still being investigated.” Mr Boateng indicates that In order to stop the rapid depletion of those resources, “We want to utilize this platform to ask for your assistance in the battle against unlawful hunting.”
The Wildlife Division engages in a variety of actions to ensure the sustainable exploitation of wildlife heritage, including conservation education and awareness raising in communities and schools across all sixteen regions of the country.
“In order to prevent private wildlife exporters from collecting wild animals in their natural habitats for export, 8 breeding facilities have been licensed. Additionally, two ranches have received permits to advertise for local private zoos. All in an effort to help the wildlife division’s drive to educate and raise awareness of the need to modify beliefs and practices towards this animal species, as well as to offer career possibilities for our team and young people,” Mr Boateng adds.
As the world battles heatwaves, Chief Fire Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service Edwin Ekow Blankson urged citizens to stop any activities that would cause the nation’s forests and reserves to catch fire in a message read on his behalf.
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