copyright Liran Samuni / WCF, snake in the forest
Sapo National Park, in southeast Liberia, is the country’s largest and oldest national park, harboring more than 1,000 critically endangered western chimpanzees and also the country’s largest elephant population, along with other unique and endangered wildlife such as the pygmy hippopotamus, the leopard, the jentink’s duiker and many species of the most traded wild animal, the pangolin.
Unfortunately, this past year, Sapo National Park has suffered from a worrying increase of human encroachment by illegal artisanal gold-miners. Due the sensitivity of the issue, many areas of the park have become inaccessible to the Forestry Development Agency (FDA) rangers, with thousands of illegal persons now settled in the park.
A similar issue occurred a few years back, when 18,000 illegal gold-miners had settled in the park. Back then, the Government of Liberia reacted and evicted them from the park. The Government of Liberia is now assessing how best to proceed to prevent any further destruction to the greatest stronghold for wildlife and forest in the whole country. The Government of Liberia, in this case, represented by the FDA, have discussed all the issues with both government and non-governmental stakeholders, as well as the communities that live outside the park, and collaborate with the FDA to protect Sapo National Park. Awareness is raised through meetings and by using radio to disseminate conservation messages to the local communities. FDA subsequently led a recce mission to map the problem areas and talk directly to the miners and inform them that they should leave the national park as soon as possible, before the FDA, with other government partners, conduct law enforcement missions to regain the park. As such, FDA is in great need to have sufficient funding to conduct these missions to primarily ensure the illegal miners leave the park but to subsequently ensure their permanent presence across the park to deter them from re-settling and degrading Liberia’s natural heritage any further.
We really hope you can help us raise this money to help save the forest and wildlife of Sapo National Park in Liberia!
copyright Liran Samuni/WCF, pangolin in the forest