By Mahmud Mohammed-Nurudeen, MyJoyOnline
The Mole National Park has received EUR 600,000 grant from the ‘Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants’ (MIKE) programme to fund a project entitled: “Protecting the Priority Population of elephant and other target species in Mole National Park – Ghana”.
The grant would be disbursed over a three-year period to support improved park enhancement capacity for law enforcement through training and resourcing of park rangers.
It will also aid the park to purchase a 4×4 vehicle, communication system, field gear, among others.
Rehabilitation of existing outposts and construction of new sub-range outposts with ancillary facilities in poaching hotspots to ensure the effective protection, maintenance of park security and integrity will be addressed.
The Implementation Agreement was entered into by the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission and the MIKE Secretariat in July 2021.
During the first half of implementation, the reactivation of the defunct Wildlife Division Mobile Training Unit (MTU), which includes Nine (9) Trainer of Trainers, began with a refresher training.
Other achievements chalked including, first Aid and LifeSaver training, Leadership and Team Building, Conflict Management, Animal Behavior and Problem Animal Control, Human Resource/ Collective Bargaining Agreement of the Forestry Commission, and Bush Craft.
The rest includes; Weapon Handling, Consolidated Wildlife Laws of Ghana, Mike Elephant Carcass Monitoring as well as field practicals for nine Wildlife Division staff.
Provision of food ration and other patrol inputs to field rangers to support extended patrols and special operations are parts of the agreement.
The MIKE Programme was established by the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1997.
The programme is entirely dependent on donor support with the European Union (EU) being the most important donor for the programme.
The EU has funded MIKE implementation since its inception in 2001 in Africa and Asia.
In Ghana, the Mole National Park is one of two active MIKE sites.
The Park is approximately 4,577 sq. km in size and holds the largest and most viable population of savanna elephants in the country.
According to the Park Manager, procurement processes have commenced for a vehicle (4×4), communication system for the park and field equipment for park rangers.
“Repair, servicing, and operational maintenance of five vehicles and two tractors to facilitate deployment of rangers, distribution of food rations to the Range camps, transportation of materials as well as rehabilitation, repair and cleaning of law enforcement deployment tracks, roads and Park boundary will also be done,” Ali Mahama said.
Mr. Mahama says specialized training for seventeen (17) Law Enforcement Managers in SMART, Geographic Information Systems, Surveillance/Intelligence gathering & Investigations and Court procedures have began.
“Rehabilitation and maintenance work at the Jang range outpost made up of masonry, carpentry, plumbing, electrical and painting is also ongoing,” he said.
It is the hope of management, the grant would help to address challenges facing the park.