The Wildlife Division (WD) of Forestry Commission has sensitised about 100 members of the Indigenous Caterers’ Association of Ghana (ICAG), Greater Accra Chapter, on the importance of the Close Season to wildlife conservation and the socio-economic benefits it offers to the country at large.

The sensitisation was done at one of the Association’s regular meetings held at the Veterans Administration of Ghana (VAG) Hall in Accra, to address pertinent issues that affect members.

Participants were educated about the Close Season, Open Season, the need to have license for bush meat trade during both seasons, and Protected Areas (Parks) under WD’s jurisdiction, among others.

The Public Relations Manager of WD, Ms Ernestina Anie, urged especially chop bar operators and those who trade in bush meat, to go to the Head Office of Forestry Commission or any nearest WD District Office and obtain a license, to enable them conduct business legally and not fall foul of the law.

She also encouraged them to visit the Accra Zoo and Shai Hills Resource Reserve to see the different wildlife species available.

The ICAG President, Madam Zipporah Laryea , and General Secretary, Mr Ahmed Abubakar Ahmed, communicated that they were particularly concerned about the recent seizure of bush meat from chop bar operators by WD officials in the Central Region, which was reported in the media, and so invited WD to educate members, especially chop bar operators, on the Close Season as well as the licensing process before selling bush meat.

The exhibition mounted at the event grounds gave participants a pictorial understanding of some wildlife species available in Ghana. Basic Wildlife Laws posters were also given to participants.

The Indigenous Caterers’ Association of Ghana, has over 4,000 members across the country. It comprise restaurant and chop bar operators, pastry and other cooked food sellers, as well as all food handlers, with the sole purpose of teaching them best ways of handling food.