By: Ayeason Yeeba
Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF) with funding from United Kingdom (UK) Embassy and the European Union has begun training ex bush meat sellers in Monrovia through the Eddie Theater production group.
The training for 12 women which commenced on February 23 and ended March 1, 2022 brought together women from across the country.
The market women through awareness and sensitization, have already changed selling bush meat in favor of other businesses and are helping to encourage their colleagues to divert from illegal trade of protected wildlife species to another business.
The training and sensitization through drama theater performances also help encouraged others who are involved in the selling of bushmeat trade to stop killing and selling Baboon (chimpanzee) meat, Ants bear (pangolin), monkey, elephant, bush cow and many other protected animals in the Liberian forest.
The Ex- bush meat sellers drama team has embarked on a national theater your which started on march 2, 2022 in Buchanan.
This year’s World Wildlife Day is being celebrated under the ‘Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration. ‘ The theme for 2022 seeks to raise awareness of the critically endangered species of flora and fauna in our ecosystems, with a view to generating and implementing workable solutions to conserve them.
Officials and staffs of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), members of the diplomatic corps, international partners, and government officials in Grand Bassa County are expected to be in attendance.
As part of the celebrations, the drama team will perform at selected markets in six major towns in Nimba, Bong, and Margibi Counties: Ganta, Gbarnga, Gbatala, Zeanzu, Totota, and Kakata.
The nationwide tour will end with performances on March 16 in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, and March 17, 2022, at Bo Waterside, Grand Cape Mount County.
In close collaboration with FDA, Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue, and Protection and Fauna, and Flora International in different areas of the country, the training is intended to create massive awareness among Liberians and foreign nationals about the sustainability of the Liberian forest and its protected species thereof.
The project is led by and implemented by Liberian women who are seen as the drivers of positive change.
The Illegal killing of wildlife, eating protected wildlife, keeping them as pets, or trading and trafficking of protected species in Liberia is forbidden by law, and violators are prosecuted, fined, or jailed when found guilty.
In her opening remarks at the training, the Country Director of the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, Dr. Annika Hillers, welcomed the ex-bush meat sellers and made specific emphasis on international partners’ interest in Baboon (chimpanzee) protection, stressing that Baboon has closeness to humankind.
Additionally, Dr. Hillers praised Liberia for having the largest forest areas as compared to other West African countries, which according to her is good for the survival of baboons.
She assured that in the future awareness will spread across all the 15 counties in Liberia with additional women trained in the shortest possible time to help sensitize the public on illegal bush meat trade and the need to protect wildlife for future generations and to promote the tourism sector.