The Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, is enforcing the 'Close Season' from August 1, 2021 till December 1, 2021 to protect wildlife in line with the Wildlife Conservation Regulations- L.I 685 of 1971.

A statement by the Wildlife Division explained that, during the period of the annual ban, hunting, capturing or destroying of wild animals is illegal.

“During this period, it shall be illegal for anybody to hunt, capture or destroy any wild animal except grass cutter which can be done only under licence issued by the wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission”, the statement added.

The closed season has been adopted over the years to regulate the utilisation and curbing of the decline of wildlife resources in Ghana and ensuring sustainable use of the resource and any person who contravenes the provision of these regulations shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine.

Hunting in Ghana

The trading and hunting of wild animals in Ghana are male-dominated activities, with majority of the traders and hunters operating illegally and with impunity. Trapping, the most widely used hunting technique, has been found to impose brutalities on the captured animals.

A study titled “The Wildlife Trade in Ghana: A Threat to Biodiversity Conservation” published in the Ghana Journal of Science revealed that, majority of the traders (77%) were between 16 and 30 years old, while the rest of the hunters were aged 40 years and above.

Day-hunting was practised by 67 per cent of hunters, 56 per cent of whom used traps, and 33 per cent used guns and cutlasses. The remaining 11 per cent undertook group-hunting which involved chasing and running down the animals.

According to the publication, the traps used were mainly metal killer traps which exposed the animals to severe cruelty, as evidenced by the sight of captured animals with ruptured eyeballs, fractured limbs and blood dripping from parts of their bodies. About 56 per cent of captured animals ended up in the hands of traders, while the remaining 44 per cent went to chop bar (local restaurant) operators.

Wildlife laws not rigidly enforced

The study found out that, even though the level of awareness of the Ghana’s wildlife laws among various stakeholders appeared to be high, there is the need for intensive supervision and monitoring as well as enforcement of these laws.

Thus, about 76 per cent of the wildlife traders found the business lucrative, and the same percentage were aware of the laws governing the sale of wildlife in Ghana. Also, 48 per cent knew exactly what the laws were, and the fact that the hunting of wildlife in Ghana requires a license issued by the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission.

Only 24 per cent of the traders however had trading licenses, suggesting that the existing wildlife laws are not being rigidly enforced.

“There appeared to be no arrests or reprimands for breaching the law on open and close seasons for hunting, as all kinds of live animals or carcasses were on display along the highways of Ghana all year-round”, the research found.

Citations

S. Odonkor, F. Gbogbo, D. Attuquayefio And L. Bimi