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Press Release - March 3 2021 is World Wildlife Day
Posted: 02 Mar 2021

PRESS RELEASE

MARCH 3 2021 IS WORLD WILDLIFE DAY.

The World Wildlife Day (WWD) is one of the significant annual events celebrated globally since 2013, when the Secretariat of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES) through the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3rd March every year, as World Wildlife Day. The main objective of the WWD is to raise awareness on the contribution of wildlife to socio-economic and cultural development. The 2021 World Wildlife Day is therefore, aimed at raising awareness of the immense value of forests and forest-dwelling wildlife species, their intrinsic link to the livelihoods of local communities who are at the forefront of the conservation and sustainable use of the species, and the economic, social and cultural well-being of communities around the world. It is also to educate the public and create awareness of the importance of wildlife which forms part of our natural heritage. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”. This is to bring to bear the essential roles of forests and wildlife species and ecosystem services in sustaining the livelihoods of millions of people globally, especially indigenous and local communities with historic ties to forested areas. This year’s theme is of crucial importance to us as Ghanaians because forests form an integral part of our rural economy, providing subsistence goods and services as well as items of trade. However, as a result of human activities such as poaching, indiscriminate bush burning, wildfires and others, the importance and benefits derived from forests and wildlife species over the years has been disrupted. We cannot as individuals go about our daily activities without the use or coming into contact with forest products and this emphasises the relevance of forest products as a vital part of our daily lives. Ghana has a wealth of biodiversity and the forest plays a vital role in the provision of habitat for the variety of biodiversity we have as a country, in and off reserves. Forest-fringed communities depend on forests resources for various products such as fuel wood, construction materials, medicine and food. This tells us that when our forests are destroyed, everyone suffers. Studies have shown that after oceans, forests are the largest storehouses of carbon. They provide ecosystem services that are critical to human welfare; by absorbing harmful greenhouse gasses that produce climate change, providing clean water for drinking, bathing and other household needs. Furthermore, the forest protects watersheds and reduce or slow the amount of erosion and chemicals that reach waterways and also serve as a buffer in natural disasters like floods and rainfalls. Despite all these globally recognised values of our forests and their importance to livelihood, they are being destroyed, over exploited and disappearing due to lack of awareness, poverty and negligence. We therefore, need a collaborative effort to address these challenges. On this World Wildlife Day 2021, the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission wishes to: • Call on chiefs, traditional authorities and opinion leaders of our local communities to revise and revive those innovative taboos and totemic systems that could contribute to forest and wildlife conservation in order to sustain people and the planet as a whole. • Plead with our local communities to embrace government initiative of protecting our reserves through the creation of Community Resource Management Areas (CREMAs), which is a system by which the government through the Wildlife Division is supporting local communities to own and manage the wildlife resources within their local jurisdictions. The CREMA 4 concept does not only seek to conserve our natural resources but also advocate the development of individuals in these communities by presenting to them ways through which they will be able to improve their livelihoods and increase income by bringing on board alternative livelihood opportunities like bee keeping, snail or grasscutter rearing, mushroom production just to mention a few. • Call on media houses, NGOs and other stakeholders to carry out public education to create awareness on forest and wildlife conservation. • Appeal to our local hunters and other stakeholders in the bushmeat trade to respect the Closed Season observed between 1st August and 1st December of every year, a time used to regulate the decline of wildlife resources in the country and ensure its sustainable use whilst serving as a respite for the animals during their breeding period. • Call on the police and other law enforcement agencies to take immediate steps to reduce activities of individuals that lead to the total degradation of our forest and wildlife resources. • Call upon the judiciary, who have been our major stakeholders, to issue deterrent court sentences to offenders who impede on the measures put in place to regulate these illegal activities like killing endangered species and practicing of illegal forest activities in our reserves such as “galamsey”.  We need our forests and wildlife for the sustainability of life (humans) and the planet as a whole and it is in this light that the theme “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”, is deemed most appropriate for this year’s World Wildlife Day celebration. The Forestry Commission therefore, calls for collaboration from all and sundry to ensure that we achieve this aim, to ensure the survival of all.

Issued by:

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE

FORESTRY COMMISSION

ACCRA

March 3, 2021

 

For further information, contact:

The Corporate Affairs & Media Relations Unit,

Forestry Commission, Accra.

Tel: 233 (0) 302 401 210233/ (0) 302 401 210

Email: info@fcghana.org

Website: www.fcghana.org

 

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