STATEMENT ON WILDLIFE RESOURCES OF WESTERN TOGOLAND
Mr. Chairman, Fellow Participants from the various destinations. We are gathered with a common objective to celebrate World Wildlife Day which falls on tomorrow, Sunday 3rd March, 2019. The day was marked by the United Nations Assembly at the Headquarters, New York, yesterday but we choose to celebrate today 2nd March. This is an annual event celebrated since March 2015, under various themes to raise awareness on the World Wildlife fauna and flora. The 2019 celebration is under the theme Life under Water: For people and Planet.
Available knowledge indicates that, marine wildlife of about 200,000 known species has sustained human civilization and development for millennia, from providing food and nourishment, a material for handicraft and construction. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihood. It has also enriched our life culturally, spiritually, economically and in many different ways.
For these reasons, it might be appropriate to mark the day first, in solidarity with people who are placed closest to marine resources by God, secondly with humanity in general, since marine resources affect our lives wherever we are, even far away from the oceans and the sea.
Our local celebration in this part of the planet is based on the theme: Protecting River Bodies: A call to duty for meaningful living.
This theme is purposely chosen to drive home the role and responsibility people have for natural and physical assets placed closest to them for humanity. On this note, we the participants gathered here are making passionate appeal to our coastal populations from Anyanui, Keta, Denu and Aflao to re-orient themselves about the responsibilities God placed on them for the well-being of the ocean and life under it.
We emphatically wish to remind them to observe all international conventions, agreements, protocols and many other provisions on marine resources for their own benefits, secondly to us in the hinterland. If there is no marine life, there is no occupation in Dzita, Anyanui, Keta, Kedzi, Vodza, Denu, Aflao among others. The same way Ho, Tsito, Peki, Hohoe, Alavanyo, Jasikan, Kedjebi and others will lack fish from the sea.
On this occasion, we wish to particularly stress the need to congratulate Non- Governmental Organizations, Communities, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Wildlife Division for their combined and collaborative efforts at the management of Keta Lagoon Ramsar Site Complex. Moreover, it is imperative to remind those engaged in industrial activities such as salt mining and oil exploration to do it with the maximum environmental care which requires for the safety of coastal biodiversity.
For individual whistle blowers and watchdogs on marine and coastal mischief and wrongdoing, we are grateful for good job done and wish to urge them to continue exposing those barbaric practices and we assure them that, measures are being put in place to recognize their tremendous efforts to reduce such wrongdoings. To those various actors in marine and coastal wildlife management, we extend an appeal to them to keep appropriate data on their operations for various reasons and intent, but first and foremost to boost sustainable management.
On this year’s celebration under the theme Life below Water for people and Planet which focuses on marine wildlife, we in this part of the planet wish to make an extension to our river bodies and inland wetlands. We are using the occasion to draw attention of statutory bodies, communities living near these water resources, NGOs that are into water management activities to intensify their activities through integrated resource management principles for sustainability of these water bodies and wildlife under them. We have noted the Volta River, Rivers Todzi, Aka, Tsawoe, Alabo, Nyitor, Kalakpa, Danyi, Menu, Wawa, Pepe and Oti to mention but a few, many of which navigate through forest reserves of the land into the Volta River and Lake.
Forest depletion in the land is seriously affecting the survival of the water bodies and wildlife under them. We have taken note of this and wish to inform illegal harvesting of volumes of trees from our forests both on and off reserves, as reported by our community delegates to stop their operation with immediate effect because there will be no excuse if they are caught.
We focus our attention on the destructive activities and orchestrated mismanagement activities in this year’s celebration in Kalakpa and Kyabobo Natural Park by the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission. It is essential to draw attention of lovers and passionate inhabitants of Wildlife conservation efforts such as INCN, CITIES and Birdlife International among others to make a trip to these reserves and observe the suffering of people, water bodies, flora and fauna as a resort of management activities.
The Wildlife Division stand accused for harvesting of volumes of timber from these wildlife reserves which is very unfortunate and we are using this important and timely occasion to call on the international community to judge whether the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission really has that expertise as claimed to manage wildlife resources, let alone be supported with international funding.
While we await such a move, we wish to declare our local action for the retrieval of monies generated from the orchestrated mismanagement activities of the Wildlife Division of the Kalakpa Resource Reserves and the Kyabobo National Park. We wish to notify these mismanagement personalities who with their greedy intentions did so to acquire illegal wealth, of the curse they put on themselves in their claim of professional cloth and capped by their intentional mismanagement to enrich themselves, families, friends and churches.
These families, friends and churches should advice the Kalakpa and Kyabobo Resources looters to return the illegal revenues to their pastors for channelling into restoration activities in these wildlife sanctuaries or stand cursed forever.
We hereby use this occasion, to remind those heartless individuals who orchestrated the destruction of these resources that, we have not yet cursed them unless they refuse to return all the illegal wealth obtained from Kalakpa and Kyabobo. The more they delay the more danger incurred for their generations without hesitation or reservation. Definitely, curse up to the seventh and eighth generations of their lineages is available to reward their wrongdoing. We therefore, advise them to act before they are acted on as they are always reminded of their mischief by the buildings, cars, furniture, friends, children and churches they spend the illegal wealth on.
World Wildlife Day 2019 Celebration provides us with the opportunity for introspection. Does wildlife need human beings to survive? Do they need our purported management activities? Do we in our domestic abode need wildlife and are we prudent in dealing with them if yes?
Despite our domestication successes, we largely depend on wildlife for three- quarters of survival as domestic and civilized animals. If we are really civilized why do we voluntarily mismanage wildlife in the name of management which wildlife does not need? It is necessary to remind ourselves of God’s command to be caretakers of all his creation; we need to meditate deeply on our purported management activities which really are a survival strategy of robbing wildlife. Let us learn to live in harmony with wildlife for it is the lifeline for domestic survival.