GREENVILLE, (LINA) – Wardens of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) in Sinoe County have arrested and handed over to the Liberia National Police a hunter named Saturday Jarwee, 60, accused of killing four elephants in the Sapo National Park about 50 kilometres from Greenville.
FDA Wild Life Manager, Abednego Gbarway, told reporters that the endangered species were killed in March in the Jleepo Forest around an area called Nelson Village and was discovered while park rangers were on a regular patrol, but Jarwee has denied killing any elephant.
He is currently detained at the Greenville Palace of Correction waiting to make his formal plea when the courts open for the May Term.
Notwithstanding, FDA’s Gbarway said his men had discovered four dead elephants, and apprehended Jarwee as a suspect after applying “our professional technique and experience to identify the doer of the act.”
“By law; if anyone kills wildlife illegally, that person, when adjudged guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, can be sentenced up to four to five years in prison or be fined an amount of US$5,000 to be deposited into government’s coffers,” he said.
An act of hunting down such animals contravenes Section 11 of the National Wild Life Conservation and Protected Area Management Law of 2016, Garway explained.
Meanwhile, some residents of Nelson Village, including elder John Klijlay, told the Liberia News Agency following the arrest of Jarwee that the man started hunting in the forest since the 1980s and has always targeted wild animals.
The locals were, however, not sure whether Jarwee was the killer of the elephants, and called on FDA authorities to conduct further investigation as such act might have been done by more than one individual.
The Sapo National Park is in Sinoe County and is Liberia’s largest protected area of rainforest and contains the second-largest area of primary tropical rainforest in West Africa after Taï National Park in neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire.
Agriculture, construction, fishing, hunting, human settlement, and logging are prohibited in the park.
It is located in the Upper Guinean forest ecosystem, a biodiversity hotspot that has “the highest mammal species diversity of any region in the world,” according to Conservation International, and in the Western Guinean lowland forests eco-region, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature’s eco-regions classification scheme.