By Nana Konadu Agyeman, Graphic Online
Four persons who allegedly shot and killed an elephant at Vamboi in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region have been arrested.
The suspected poachers reportedly butchered and removed the tusks of the middle-aged male elephant while a herd of elephants were moving from Ghana to Burkina Faso on April 13, 2020.
Following the incident, a team of personnel from the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, the military and the police carried out joint investigations that led to the arrest of the four, whose names had been withheld.
The suspects are currently in court facing charges related to the killing of the elephant.
The Executive Director of the Wildlife Division of the FC, Mr Bernard Asamoah-Boateng, described the killing of the young elephant as a “barbaric act that is unacceptable”.
“Elephants are among the ‘appendix one’ animal species that are not killed at all either for their tusks or their meat. These animals are protected,” he told the Daily Graphic.
Mr Asamoah-Boateng said in the past there was a contiguous forest that stretched from Ghana to Burkina Faso, allowing herds of elephants to move freely between the countries to enjoy feeding habitats.
He said as a result of rapid development and population growth, the forests became fragmented, impeding the movement of the animals.
“These animals are able to study the environment to know when it is convenient to travel to either Ghana or Burkina Faso in search of water and food.
“So these elephants can be described as shared animals between Ghana and Burkina Faso,” Mr Asamoah-Boateng said.
He pointed out that elephants normally travelled to Ghana between April and August after which they travelled back to the Burkina Faso.
“Unfortunately on April 13 this year, while the animals were travelling from Ghana to Burkina Faso, one of the elephants was shot dead,” he said.
We Are to Protect Elephants
Mr Asamoah-Boateng indicated that in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), staff of the Wildlife Division were on a 24-hour duty call, observing the safety protocols and working day and night to ensure that the elephants and other animal species were protected.
He indicated that Ghana was currently chairing the African Elephant Fund Steering Committee, and so “we are supposed to protect elephants with the utmost best, but here is the case this unfortunate thing has happened”.