The Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission (FC) has launched the 2023 Close Season at a Durbar under the theme; “Effects of Climate Change on Forest and Wildlife Resources”.
The Closed Season, which starts from August 1st December 1st every year, backed by law, is a time when activities such as hunting, capturing, destroying and trading of wild animals are prohibited. The only animal that can be hunted is the grasscutter, but this can only be done with a valid license issued by Wildlife Division.
The Director of Stakeholder and Ecotourism, Dr Richard Gyimah, in a welcome address pointed out that the Close Season is not just a pause in our actions, but an opportunity for us to reflect on the impact of our activities on the delicate ecosystem that sustain lives in all forms.
He said, the Season further serves as a reminder of the need to preserve and safeguard our wildlife and their habitats; and also recognise the vital role that they play in maintaining balance in the ecosystem.
The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, in charge of lands and forestry, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio, in his speech entreated every citizen to observe the Close Season and support government efforts to address illegalities in the forest and wildlife sectors for the collective benefit of all Ghanaians.
The Minister advised that we cultivate the culture of tree planting, nurturing the seedlings to growth and shun activities that degrade the environment.
“In view of the above, it is important, to address deforestation and forest degradation by planting and nurturing trees as we have demonstrated under the Green Ghana Project to save our forest and its resources and contribute to the fight against climate change”, he emphasized.
Hon. Owusu-Bio noted that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) and Forestry Commission are committed to ensuring that Ghana’s forest and wildlife resources are conserved and protected for environmental and socio-economic benefits.
A member of the FC Board, Nana Akosua Konadu Agyeman Prempeh, who was the Chairperson urged all present to learn all there is to know about natural resources and their conservation, in order to become worthy ambassadors for the present and future.
The Deputy Chief Executive (CE), Mr Nyadia Sulemana Nelson, in a speech delivered on behalf of the FC Chief Executive, Mr. John Allotey, observed that Ghana is blessed with abundant and diverse wildlife, however the changing climate patterns and their adverse effects have cast a dark shadow over these forests and wildlife resources.
He said that one of the most significant impacts of climate change on our forest is deforestation, with far-reaching consequences such as soil erosion, loss of habitats for wildlife and loss of livelihoods for local communities that depend on forest resources.
Mr Nyadia pointed out that, to combat these effects, the Forestry Commission is implementing comprehensive strategies and activities such as the enforcement of the Close Season, prioritizing the restoration of degraded forest areas through reforestation and afforestation initiatives, nurturing various collaborations and partnerships aimed at reducing the climate challenges; and education and awareness campaigns.
“Through education we can empower individuals to make informed choices and embrace sustainable lifestyles that reduce their carbon footprint. Let us strive for a future where our forests flourish, our wildlife thrives, and Ghana stands as a shining example of environment stewardship”, he added.
At the event was also the outdooring of the Wildlife Club, presentation of certificates and registration for all participating schools, and was handled by the Director of Operations, Mr Umaru Farouk Dubiure. He explained to them, the rudiments of the Wildlife Club, and duties and responsibilities of members.
Awards were again presented to three best students, who had come out tops in a Wildlife Conservation Education Drawing Competitions, organized earlier in the year with the participating schools.
The 2023 Close Season was duly launched by the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio.