11 July 2019

Liberia: Hunter Makes Dramatic Turn

Vows to surrender elephant killers guns to FDA

A one-time adapted wildlife hunter, who claims to have exhausted most of his youthful days hunting wildlife in Lofa County, Northwest Liberia, has made a forthright confession about his unjustified destruction of the country's generation of wildlife, while he was then actively clothed in hunting garment, a release from the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) has said.

Accordingly, the release said, Yarkpawolo Kalaplee has publicly confessed his ignorance, and registered his regret now that he has come to realize the value of the country's generation of wildlife.

He then made a passionate vow to champion the cause of the protection and conservation of wildlife consistent with the governing law of the country. The new 'conservationist' made this willful confession in an interview with journalists recently at the close of a two-day workshop dubbed, "Feedback Grievance Redress Mechanisms (FGRM)," held in Ganta, Nimba County.

The workshop, sponsored by the World Bank through the FDA and the REDD+ Implementation Unit (RIU), brought together more than 80 participants from nine forest dependent communities across the country.

It was basically aimed at how best to resolve land use and forest related conflict that may possibly emanate from forest dependent communities across the country, to avoid unnecessary court proceedings.

Mr. Kalaplee, now a sectional chief in Zorzor District, Lofa County, sincerely confessed: "Had I known, I wouldn't have engaged in killing Liberia's valuable wildlife, some of which are almost finished."

Until the workshop, Kalaplee has been hunting since 1978 with a pygmy Hippotamus being his first victim, and has since killed an uncountable number of wildlife, notable among them chimpanzees, elephants, duikers, giant pangolins, etc.

Kalapelee has made a rallying call on his fellow hunters and all Liberians to join the campaign to protect the country's remaining dwindling wildlife population.

He added, "The wildlife belong to us, and we are best placed to protect them for our own benefit; therefore respecting the wildlife law is a civic duty and responsibility that must be executed by all Liberians."

On the motivation and driving force behind his hunting habit, Kalapelee said that he engaged in the occupation to support the livelihood of his family and underwrite the cost of his children's education, but was now giving up his hunting trade in respect of the laws of Liberia.

To actualize his decision, Kalapelee said that he has retired, wrapped and placed his gun in safe keeping, and was on the verge of handing it over to the FDA. He said he is prepared to encourage other hunters to join the wildlife protection campaign, to save the remaining spices in the country.

"I therefore remain fearless and undaunted to stand by my decision at all cost, because I care less whatever the consequences. Hunting does not make anybody rich nor redeem anyone from poverty," Mr. Kalapelee said.

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