Ghana News Agency
Godfred A. Polkuu,
July 11, 2019

Social Stakeholder Engagement
Mr John Naada, the Upper East Regional Manager of Wildlife of the Forestry
Commission, has called on the public to desist from shooting elephants
because such acts could endanger the lives of community members. “We want
to plead with all stakeholders to educate our people not to shoot at
elephants. If you do so, you are putting everybody’s life in danger. If you
shoot an elephant and it is wounded, it may in turn attack any human in its
path,” he said.

Mr Naada, who was speaking in Bolgatanga at a stakeholder meeting held to
discuss the presence of elephants in the area and the consequencial crop
raiding, warned members of the public, especially those who live close to
forest reserves saying “you need to be careful, with an elephant in the
neighbourhood, because you may shoot and may not kill it, then we will all
have a problem on our hands.”

He said elephants are sensitive to any colourful attire such as red adding
that “if you want to go and view elephants, be careful, don’t go so close,
stay distance away and watch them. But don’t go near.”

The Manager said elephants protected their younger ones from harm anytime
they moved with them and cautioned that people who come across elephants
with their younger offspring needed to be extra careful. Mr Naada said
there is a conflict between women who live around the Datuko area in the
Telensi District and elephants who occasionally troop to the forest reserve
in that area because the women depended on shea nut trees in the area for
their income, whereas the elephants fed on the shea nuts and sometimes
pulled down the trees.

He said the forest reserves in the Region served as habitats for elephants
and they depended on whatever they saw in the forest for survival. ?We only
go there to intrude in their area. That is what they feed on, and so if we
want to get money from shea trees, we may have to look at other options,?
he said.

Mr Naada called for the planting of more shea trees on farms by farmers so
that they could harvest for income instead of depending on forest reserves
which elephants feed on, and called on the media to help the Commission to
educate members of the public on how to coexist peacefully with elephants
so they do not pose a threat to human life.

Madam Paulina Patience Abayage, the Upper East Regional Minister, in a
speech read on her behalf, said the increasing numbers of elephants and the
consequence of poaching, crop destruction among other concerns in the
Region has assumed international dimensions because the migration pattern
of the elephants are between southern Burkina Faso, Togo and northern
Ghana.

She said: ?In recent times, however, the situation has gradually changed
where the animals come into permanent residence in selected areas of their
choice within the corridor particularly around Zongoyiri and Tilli
forests.?

Mr Emmanuel Asore Avoka, the Garu District Chief Executive, in an interview
with the media after the programme, said Mr Ussif, 42, was killed in the
Garu District last year by elephants, and said the unfortunate incident
compelled stakeholders in the District to institute measures such as
sensitizations at public gatherings including churches and mosques among
others to educate members of the public on how to prevent attacks by
elephants.

He said Mr Ussif lost his life when he ran into elephants on his motorbike
in a forest reserve and unknown to him the elephants had lost a younger one
and were angry. “Out of fear, he fell off the motorbike and the animals
pounced and killed him,” he said.