Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, responsible for Lands and Forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio, has launched the 2023 Closed Season for Wildlife Observation.
Speaking on the theme: ‘Effects of Climate Change on Forest & Wildlife Resources’ at a brief event at the Achimota Basic School Park in the Greater Accra Region, the Deputy Lands Minister announced that a ban will be placed on hunting, capturing and destroying of wildlife animals from August 1st to 1st December 2023, as specified in the Wildlife Conservation Regulations.
“The only animal that could be hunted during this period is the grasscutter, but this can only be done with a valid license issued by Wildlife Division.”Benito Owusu-Bio
Mr Owusu-Bio asserted that climate plays a key role in the makeup and proper functioning of forests and wildlife resources. In light of this, he revealed that a change in climate such as temperature and precipitation (rainfall) can directly affect the health of forests and its resources.
Furthermore, the Deputy Lands Minister urged all citizens to observe the closed season while supporting Government’s efforts to address illegality in the forests and wildlife sectors for the collective benefit of all Ghanaians.
Speaking an interview with the media, Mr Owusu-Bio indicated that through government interventions and partners, wildlife rangers and forest guards are being given the necessary training and adequate equipment to effectively protect all natural resources which includes wildlife.
On his part, Mr Sulemana Nyadia, the Deputy Chief Executive for Forestry Commission, speaking at the event described the importance of preserving wildlife and the impact of climate change on human lives and the environment.
Mr Nyadia revealed that the implementation of the closed season will regulate the utilization and curb the decline of wildlife resources in the country which will ensure sustainable use of the resources for animals during their critical breeding periods.
Awareness creation, he underscored, is very important in driving change and should inspire everyone to take up a new lifestyle that will help the conservation of nature and the environment.
” We will enhance public campaigns to highlight the importance of our forests and wildlife, emphasizing their role in mitigating climate change and nurturing a vibrant ecosystem.”Sulemana Nyadia
Presentation of certificates to basic schools for wildlife participation
Also at the event, Nana Akosua Konadu Agyeman Prempeh, Forestry Commission Board Commissioner and Chairman of the event on her part, explained that the closed season is a period of no hunting and capturing activities of all wildlife including antelopes, porcupine, elephants among others.
Following the event, certificates were presented to some basic schools for their participation in Wildlife Clubs. Additionally, some awards were equally presented to best students in the Wildlife Conservation Education Drawing Competition held.
It will be recalled that Mr Owusu-Bio announced the passage of the Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2022 by the Parliament of Ghana on Friday, July 28, 2023. He stated that the bill seeks to revise and consolidate all laws relating to Wildlife and Protected Areas which will be in conformity with existing policies and emerging trends in the natural resources sector.
He continued that the new legislation will also give legal backing to local communities in wildlife management through the creation of Community Resource Management Areas (CREMAs) and also introduce higher penalties and sanction regimes for wildlife offences, to serve as a deterrent to other perpetrators.
The new legislation will also ensure the effective implementation of International Conventions on Wildlife, of which Ghana is a signatory.
Following the passage, the lands ministry in a statement expressed its gratitude to all stakeholders involved in the passage of the bill in parliament.