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General News of Wednesday, 30 July 2003

Source: GNA

Ban on hunting wild animals begins August 1st

Accra, July 30, GNA - The Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission has announced that hunting of wild animals is forbidden between August 1 and December 1 under the wildlife conservation regulations L.I 685 of 1960.

It said in a statement that the period, which is referred to as the "Close Season," is to offer respite for wild animals such as duikers, royal antelopes, and bush pigs that supply the bulk of bush meat. The hunting of grass cutter however, is exempted.

The season is considered to be the time that the animals' breed especially as the rains had encouraged the growth of fresh vegetation with abundant food supply.

The statement said non-observance of the close season undermined the sustainability and eventual existence of wild animal populations thereby depriving Ghanaians of valuable source of development.

"The Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission does not ascribe to total ban on bush meat.

"We believe that if the principle of close season is understood and observed in the same way that no one kills a pregnant goat/sheep/cow or brooding hen but waits for the mother to wean off the young, there would be continues supply of bush meat," it said.

The statement said this would ensured that many people in bush meat trade such as hunters, traders and those in the culinary service earned a living at all times and thereby reduce poverty.

It called on the police to arrest and prosecute offenders. The grass cutter, it said, has been exempted because thorough study had revealed that including it in the close season would result in excessive population with possible negative impact on agricultural production.