Climate Change & Energy
WASTCON Warns Against Attacks On Members In Ghana
Source: Onepageafrica.com - October 8, 2023
The West Africa Sea Turtles Conservation Network (WASTCON), in its capacity as a regional network of marine turtle conservation stakeholders, has strongly condemned recent attacks on two of its members and calls on the competent Ghanaian authorities to guarantee their safety.
WASTCON, in a statement on Saturday, explained how on 9 September, 2023, one of its active members from the Keta Ramsar Centre NGO, working in the Volta region, reported a poacher to the wildlife division of the forestry commission in his region.
It said that although the poacher was not immediately arrested, he subsequently threatened the WASTCON member with death and violently assaulted him.
Stating further developments of attacks, the body said: “On the night of 1 October 2023, two representatives of the Wildseas organisation, who are also active members of our network and work in the Western region, were patrolling the beach together to deter poaching and protect the nesting turtles they came across.
“At around1.45am, they came across a group of 30 to 40 people from local communities who had come to poach nesting turtles. Irritated by the presence of the two defenders, the crowd attacked them at around 1.45am. The two men tried to calm the situation, but to no avail and had no choice but to flee the beach and get to safety away from the crowd.
“Despite this, a number of poachers pursued them back to their accommodation, where they vandalised and stole the personal and professional belongings of our colleagues before physically attacking them at around 3am with machetes and other improvised weapons.”
WATSCON said the acts of violence against Ghanaian citizens defending the environment were intolerable and constitute serious threat to the conservation of our common natural heritage.
The body, therefore, reminds everyone that the protection of sea turtles:
Is essential for the balance of marine ecosystems and the preservation of biodiversity. Sea turtles play a crucial role in maintaining the health of the oceans, helping to regulate jellyfish populations and supporting sustainable fishing activities.
The conservation of marine turtles is first and foremost the responsibility of the Ghanaian government, which is a signatory to CITES and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
It, therefore, urged the local authorities
and the forces of law and order to carry out a thorough investigation to identify the perpetrators of the various attacks and to take strict measures to bring them to justice
It also called for increased security at sea turtle nesting sites to ensure the safety of WASTCON members and volunteers committed to protecting the se vulnerable species.
Reiterated its commitment to the conservation of marine turtles, WASTCON said it would continue to work in collaboration with local communities, government authorities and partner organisations to preserve these emblematic species of the marine environment.
It called for the solidarity and support of the national and international community to recognise and encourage the colossal work that its members are doing to protect marine turtles in West Africa.
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File photo ( Sea turtle)