Sierra Leone: Gola forest workshop gets journalists excited about forest protection

Journalists in the Gola Forest’s three operational districts of Kenema, Kailahun and Pujehun have signed a communiqué, indicating their fullest support for the preservation of the forest after a three-day workshop. “The forest was very cool, and habitable for animals and even tourists. We saw beautiful butterflies, birds and attractive animals. This development will definitely attract tourism. Infect there was one tourist on butterflies research,” he said, adding that they were also impressed by the cooperation of the community people in the conservation of the forest.

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Manager, Eastern radio Ahmed Kallon said the workshop and the tour of
the forest of Belebu, Tunkia chiefdom from March 16 to the 18 was very
attractive and gave a clear picture of the entire activities of the
Gola Forest. He said as part of the communiqué, participants endorsed
the preservation of the forest by recommending to the government and
international agencies to fully support the operation of the Gola
Forest by protecting the forest reserve from any other activity like
mining, hunting, logging, and farming.

Kallon said they further recommended that all the parties involved – the government, the community people, and Gola Forest – would adhere to the memorandum of understanding signed for the maintenance of the reserved forest. “We also recommended that the youth should be actively involved in most of the activities of the Gola Forest.

Also we saw the need for the media to be constantly involved in disseminating correct information about the activities of the Gola Forest program,” he said. Joseph Cowan of Radio Moa in Kailahun said the communiqué was signed because of the efficient observations of the forest they made after the tour.

He said that during the tour they discovered that the forest was a potential source of water, medicinal herbs and livelihood for the community people. “The people we spoke to told us that the benefits they are getting from Gola forest will not warrant them to encourage any form of illegal activity that will destroy the forest.

They made mention of a guest house, scholarship scheme and money they receive from visiting tourist as part of the benefits derive for the Gola forest program.” Superintendent of the environmental education unit Mannah Swarray said the workshop targeted journalists because they were community members of the three districts where Gola Forest operates.

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Freetown — Officers of the Gola Forest Programme, operating in the southeast of the country, have confirmed the discovery of a leopard, pygmy hippo, zebra duiker, and bongo among others, animals they have not noticed in the reserve for a very long time.

Gola forest protected area manager John Moriba made the revelation on Friday whiles explaining to journalists the necessity of protecting the forest reserve.

He said the forest has a high biodiversity of birds, mammals and plants, adding that the discovery of leopard, pygmy hippo and other animals was an achievement by his organization as it would serve as an essential tourist attraction centre.

Moriba noted that a group of researchers through the camera trapping system have recorded a lot of animals and of different species, most of them were about to face extinction in the country.

“The Gola Forest is even more valuable than diamonds; the forests serve as biodiversity source and also provide ecological services such as water and crop production.

It is disheartening to note that there are serious threats to the forest which range from logging, hunting and diamond mining.

We are appealing to government to address these problems as we are contemplating that by 2012 through the support from government and other partners, the reserve would attain the status of a national park.

“President Koroma on several occasions has laid emphases on the importance of the forest reserve but we are concern about the recent proposed mining that is to be undertaking by a Chinese mining company. We are gravely concern and therefore urge the president to make public statement in order to reaffirm the operations of Gola in that part of the country”

He said adding that they have enormous support from the French government, European Union and conservation international a US based organization.

He called on all Sierra Leoneans to support the project as the Gola Forest is the green diamond of Sierra Leone which everybody should be proud of.

BOIMA J.V.BOIMAAugust 1st, 2009 at 6:44 am

As i read throuhg the story captioned; “GOLA FOREST WORKSHOP GETS JOURNALISTS EXITED ABOUT FOREST PROTECTION,” i became exited too at the level of pictures and ideas portrayed in the story.
As a descent of Kenema, the House of Kola Forest, i know the level in which our forest have been exposed to the dangers of environemental hazards and the devastating climate condition caused by a massive deforestation papetrated in the country.
Therefore, i urge all to surport the gola forest campaing aganist deforestation so as to foster an environment that will accomodate all spices of living things in the country.

last but not the least, i urge all those hunters to vacate the lovely forest that extends from Pujeheun to Kailahun and from Penisula to Kabala so as to allow the animals live and enjoy their right to life.
Mind you, they too have the right to live like you, so stop killing them.
THE WRITER IS A SIERRA LEONEAN JOURNALISTS, BASED IN LIBERIA. HE WRITES FOR THE INQUIRER NEWSPAPER

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