(DAMANGO) WEST GONJA : Poaching poses threat to Mole Game Reserve
|Mole Game Reserve|| |
Poaching is steadily becoming a serious challenge to the Mole Game Reserve, near Damango in the Northern Region.
The biggest reserve in the country that covers an area of about 4,577km2, suffers from poaching during certain periods resulting in the killing of some antelopes and elephants.
The antelopes, with four different species, are easily hunted during the rainy season when vegetative cover gives poachers some security while the elephants with a population of about 800 are also hunted when their tasks are in high demand.
Mr Oliver Chelewura, Tourism Officer of the Game Reserve, speaking to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday, said poaching for elephants became rampant when the Chinese were building the Tamale Stadium and offered high prices for the elephant tasks.
“And now with the Bui Dam, which the Chinese are working on not far from here,poaching has increased again and we have to be vigilant,” he added.
Mr Chelewura said in a recent incident, game wardens were involved in a shoot out with poachers when one of the poachers was killed and those arrested mentioned the Chinese as the buyers of the tasks.
The Game Reserve, established in 1971, is home to over 94 different mammals, 33 species of reptiles, over 300 species of birds, four species of monkeys and 700 species of plants, he said.
Mr Samuel Amponsah Mensah, Information Officer, said 12 of the most common of the animals, the warthog, commonly known as the bush pig, had been sent to the Accra Zoo for an experiment to see if it could be domesticated.
“Its meat is less fatty and more tasty and healthier than the domestic pig,” he added.
He appealed to the government to consider tarring the road that led to the game reserve and also expand its accommodation.
The accommodation was built in the 1970s for 60 guests but now gets many more visitors who were sometimes forced to stay in neighbouring Communities of Larbanga and Damango.
The Reserve, with a nice water fall and caves, gets over 1,600 tourists in a year.
Mr Hakeem Ismael, Upper East Regional Director of the Tourist Board, appealed to the general public to send their children to the various places of interest in the country.
He said it was not enough for children to read books for information about their country when they could learn at first and by visiting various parts of the country.
Mr Ismael said of the over 1,600 visitors that the Game Reserve received annually, about 70 to 80 per cent were foreigners, 15 per cent Ghanaian students and only five percent domestic tourists.
The Game Reserve is an important site for nature conservation and visitors can enjoy a close and personal encounter with the wild by going on guided foot safaris or in vehicles round an access route of 120km.
The best time for visits is in the dry season, from November to May when the vegetative cover is less thick and animals can easily be seen near water bodies and dug-outs.