July 20, 2024

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Liberia’s Endangered Species Risk Extinction

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A new study reveals that Liberia has about 4,088 endangered species left in its forests, as the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and partners collaborate to conserve the nation’s forests.

Dr. Charlene Ewart, a biodiversity specialist and lecturer at the Forestry Training Institute (FTI), alarms that Liberia risks losing thousands of its endemic species if authorities do not swiftly strengthen laws and enforcement mechanisms to protect the country’s biodiversity.

In her presentation as part of a short-term course on conservation forestry training for over 40 Liberian Journalists, held in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, Dr. Ewart discussed threats facing endangered species in Liberia and stressed the importance of conservation.

She discloses over four thousand endangered species, 2,200 of which are found in plants, 1,000 ants, 590 birds, 193 mammals, 67 reptiles, and 38 amphibians.

At the same time, Dr. Ewart indicates 103 new endemic plants, 46 most-threatening ones, 17 threatening mammals, four new endemic amphibians, one threatening, two new endemic reptiles, and two most-threatening ones.

The biodiversity expert further reveals that Liberia’s biodiversity is not fully known, so many species have not been discovered or recorded, per the 2011 biodiversity assessment reports.

She calls on authorities here to ensure stronger laws and measures to save endangered species from extinction.

According to her, the West African nation of more than 5 million people is known for numerous species of plants and animals, including a few famous wildlife such as pangolins, Pygmy hippos, western chimpanzees, forest elephants, crocodiles, red river hogs, pythons, and parrots.

However, she cautions that these wild animals and species are endangered and at risk of extinction due to poaching for bush meat consumption, illegal wildlife trade, and habitat destruction.

Only a few are left in the wild, and the continued threats to these species will further reduce the animal population or make them extinct in the near future, which could negatively impact Liberia’s biodiversity and destroy the ecosystem, the forestry lecturer says.

She reiterates that illegal farming, hunting, and other human activities are destroying the habitats, which put Liberia at high risk, and that few of those new species include the Nimba toads or Numbs Viviparous toads, the Gbanga forest treefrog (Leptopelis bequaerti) and the damselfly (mesocnemistisi ), among others are few of those species form only in Liberia while emphasizing that those kinds of endemic species if not protected, might go missing forever because they are only form in a particular region.

Dr. Ewart notes that continued threats to these species will further reduce the animal population or make them become extinct in the near future, negatively impacting biodiversity and destroying the ecosystem, which will have effects on human lives.

For her part, Dr. Annika Hillers, country director of Wildlife Chimpanzee Foundation, stresses the need for government, stakeholders and implementing partners to collaborate in preserving endangered species.

She underscores the significant role play by endangered species in the preservation of the ecosystem so they need stronger collaborative approach to conserving the forest and preserving biodiversity which is essential to human livelihoods.

According to her, the overall aim of the Wildlife Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF) project dubbed: Protecting Biodiversity through law enforcement and community-led Initiatives (PROBIO) is to reduce continuous threats to Biodiversity, and its natural habitat, while supporting government’s conservation and development agenda to preserving the Liberian forest.

She rallies stakeholders to enhance connectivity and effective collaboration, which she describes as key to forest management, and to ensure sustainable development through community-led initiatives and enterprise development.

The European Union Project Coordinator, Dr. Hillers, also reaffirms the WCF’s commitment to remain supportive of activities of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) as a means of sustainability to manage Liberia’s precious natural heritage (biodiversity and natural resources).

By New Dawn.

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