“CLOSE SEASON 2015”
Wildlife has been the source of our heritage and livelihoods. It plays a very important role in the development of a nation particularly Africa and Ghana for that matter. It features prominently in festivals, the arts, drama, folklore and serves as totems. It also provides animal protein in the diet of many people, ranging from insects through reptiles to mammals. Additionally, access to bushmeat provides an important safety net for most rural people in times of economic stress.
Wildlife also plays an important role in Ghana’s tourism industry, and there is undoubtedly a great potential for future development of ecotourism centered on the country’s national parks and reserves.
Nevertheless, wildlife is being over hunted and it is reaching a point where the dwindling number of animals is threatening the food security of both rural and urban communities, survival of the species and the integrity of Ghana as a signatory to international conventions. This state of affairs has been mainly due to non- observance of the rules and regulations governing hunting of wild animals coupled with inadequate support from the law enforcement agencies to assure sustainable uses of wildlife.
One of the measures to regulate hunting and ensure sustainable use of the resource is the institution of a CLOSE SEASON that begins from August 1st to December 1st every year. This is the period where most wild animals, particularly mammals, such as Duiker, Bush pig, Honey badger, Pangolin, Porcupines and Royal antelope to mention but a few, are being followed by their young . It is therefore, imperative that the animals are given a respite from hunting to wean their young for a successful recruitment into the next generation. Non-observance of the close season therefore, undermines the very existence of wild animal populations and deprives Ghanaians of a valuable resource for sustainable development. Only grasscutters are exempt from the Close Season but license has to be obtained to hunt it.
It must, however, be emphasised that not all the animals produce their young and wean them within the four months in question. The gestation period for elephant for instance is 22 months, Bongo: 9.5 months, Red River Hog: 4-5 months, Yellow backed duiker, Black duiker (Forest Duikers): 7-8 months, and Bush buck: 6-7 months. Therefore, to find a generic CLOSE SEASON for all animals is impossible because that will mean a total ban on hunting the whole year round. It is in this vein that by L.I.685 it is an offence for anybody to hunt, capture or destroy any young animals or female animal accompanied by their young.
Our appeal therefore is that all hunters, be they professional, trophy, leisure and dealers in the wildlife enterprise to temporarily stop their activities during the close season and also be circumspect during the open season.
What we look forward to from the public is that people will not patronise the sale of all bushmeat, dead, alive or smoked except for grasscutters so that hunters will find it uneconomical to hunt these animals for the expected aim to be achieved.
We are again appealing to all Ghanaians especially, the police to arrest and prosecute such offenders by notifying the nearest Wildlife Division and Forestry Commission Offices or the Executive Director, Wildlife Division on Tel. 028-9109683/ 028-9115499, Accra.
Wildlife Division, Forestry Commission
For further information contact
Corporate Affairs & Media Relations Unit
P.O Box 434, Ministries
Accra0244-643780 / 0244-090974