By: Prof. Edward Wiafe Debrah, Ag. Pro Vice-Chancellor
University of Environment and Sustainable Development, Somanya, E/R
World Wildlife Day is marked on the 3rd of March every year to raise awareness about the importance of protecting and conserving the world’s wildlife. The day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 to mark the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973.
The theme for this year’s Day 2023 is; “Partnership for Wildlife Conservation.” It highlights the urgent need for society to work together to protect our planet’s wildlife and their habitats to secure the survival of our planet.
Wildlife plays a crucial role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. It is an essential part of our planet’s biodiversity and its contribution to the functioning of ecosystems that provide us with vital services such as food, water, and clean air. Sadly, many species are facing extinction due to habitat loss, climate change, and illegal wildlife trade.
Illegal wildlife trade is one of the most significant threats to wildlife. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry that involves poaching, trafficking, and selling wildlife and its products. Endangered species such as elephants, non-human primates, and pangolins are particularly vulnerable to poaching for their ivory, skin, meat, and other body parts.
Habitat loss is another major threat to wildlife. The destruction of forests, wetlands and other habitats has led to the decline in the populations of many species. Climate change is also affecting wildlife as it alters their habitats and disrupts their breeding and migration patterns.
To address these threats, raising awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation and taking action to protect them is essential. Governments, conservation organizations, and individuals can play a vital role in conserving wildlife.
Governments, for instance, should enforce laws to protect wildlife and their habitats, and provide funding for conservation efforts. Conservation organizations can work to protect and restore habitats, conduct research, and raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation. Individuals can make a difference by making sustainable choices, such as reducing their carbon footprint, supporting conservation organizations, and avoiding products made from endangered species.
World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation and to take action to protect the world’s wildlife. We must all work together to protect and conserve wildlife for future generations. By doing so, we will be protecting the planet and all its inhabitants, including ourselves.
Wildlife conservation is a global challenge that requires collaborative efforts from all stakeholders. One effective way to address this challenge is through partnerships. A partnership for wildlife conservation involves different organizations and individuals working together towards a common goal of protecting and conserving wildlife.
Partnerships for wildlife conservation can involve governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), communities, and private sector actors. Each partner brings its expertise, resources, and knowledge to the table, making it easier to achieve conservation goals.
Governments play a crucial role in creating policies and regulations that protect wildlife and their habitats. However, they may lack the resources and technical expertise to implement these policies effectively. NGOs can provide the necessary technical expertise, research, and advocacy to support governments in their conservation efforts.
Communities living in or near wildlife habitats are essential partners in conservation efforts. They can provide valuable information about the wildlife in their areas, help monitor and report illegal activities, and participate in conservation activities. Involving communities in conservation efforts also help to build trust and create a sense of ownership and responsibility toward conservation efforts.
The private sector can also contribute to wildlife conservation efforts through sustainable business practices, such as responsible tourism, conservation financing, and sustainable resource management. Businesses can also support conservation through corporate social responsibility initiatives and partnerships with conservation organizations.
Partnerships for wildlife conservation have proven to be effective in achieving conservation goals. For example, the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program is a partnership between governments, NGOs, and communities working to conserve snow leopards and their habitats in 12 countries. The program has helped to improve conservation efforts, reduce poaching, and increase awareness about the importance of snow leopards.
Another example is the African Elephant Fund, a partnership between African elephant range states and donors working to protect and conserve African elephants and their habitats. The partnership has helped to reduce elephant poaching and increase elephant populations in some areas.
Ghana is known for its rich biodiversity and wildlife, including elephants, lions, hippos, and primates. However, Ghana’s wildlife is under threat due to habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflicts. To address these challenges, various partnerships have been established for wildlife conservation in Ghana and must be encouraged.
In Ghana, the Community-Based Forest and Wildlife Management Project (CBFWM) can be mentioned. The project is a partnership between the Government of Ghana, the World Bank, and local communities. Its goal is to promote sustainable forest and wildlife management while improving livelihoods for local communities. The CBFWM project involves several activities, including the establishment of community-based management plans for forest reserves, wildlife protection, monitoring, and alternative livelihood development for communities. The project also includes a community-based eco-tourism initiative that provides communities with an alternative source of income while promoting wildlife conservation.
Another partnership for wildlife conservation in Ghana is the West African Primates Conservation Action (WAPCA). WAPCA is an NGO that works to conserve Ghana’s wildlife and its habitats through research, advocacy, and community engagement. WAPCA has established partnerships with local communities, traditional authorities, and government agencies to promote wildlife conservation in Ghana. One of the WAPCA’s key initiatives is the conservation of the white-napped mangabey, an endangered primate found only in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. WAPCA works with local communities to promote the conservation of the mangabey’s habitat and reduce human-wildlife conflicts.
The Ghanaian government has also established partnerships for wildlife conservation, such as the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission’s collaboration with NGOs like A’Rocha Ghana and local communities to combat illegal wildlife trade. The Wildlife Division works with the NGOs to monitor and report illegal activities, conduct wildlife education and awareness campaigns, and provide training and equipment to rangers. This theme of the year’s global wildlife day celebration supports these initiatives and must be embraced.
In conclusion, partnerships for wildlife conservation in Ghana involve various stakeholders, including the government, NGOs, and local communities. These partnerships are critical for promoting sustainable forest and wildlife management, protecting endangered species, and improving livelihoods for local communities.
By working together, these partnerships can make a significant impact in conserving wildlife and their habitats. Partnerships for wildlife conservation are essential for achieving conservation goals. By working together, governments, NGOs, communities, and the private sector can bring their resources, expertise, and knowledge to the table and make a real difference in protecting and conserving wildlife for future generations.