The Ghana Wildlife Society in partnership with Ghana Recycling Initiative by Private Enterprises (GRIPE), has embarked on a tour of various schools to raise awareness on wildlife conservation.
This was in commemoration of this year’s World Wildlife Day 2022 under the theme ‘Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration.’
World Wildlife Day on every 3rd March observes the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which took place in 1973.
The day was commemorated with education and awareness campaigns at the Prince of Peace Presbyterian School located in Tema, and the DPS International School in Dwahenya. Wildlife magazines and posters were donated to schools to enhance their knowledge on environmental sustainability, and circularity, and to them to take action for people and the planet.
The Assistant Education Officer at the Ghana Wildlife Society, Ms. Georgina Antwi, said the objective of the campaigns was to spread awareness and educate young people about the significance of wildlife (plants and animals) in our ecosystem, and get them to acknowledge their contribution to the ecosystem and the threats faced by endangered species.
According to her, “if care is not taken, we could lose our most cherished charismatic and flagship species to extinction in the near future.”
“There is an urgent need to raise consciousness about wildlife conservation and to step up the fight against wildlife crime and human activities that cause species reduction which has an extensive effect on the ecosystem.”
She explained that humans have coexisted with wildlife for ages, and they have become an important part of our lives.
“Wildlife benefits us in numerous ways; they provide us with food, medicines, oxygen, regulate the climate, influence rainfall, increase soil fertility, and replenish our natural resources. Recognizing the contribution of wildlife in our environment, and acknowledging their essentiality for the existence of life on earth, is an important and a big step towards wildlife conservation.”
“Unfortunately, we are losing our wildlife to human-induced factors like habitat destruction, illegal wildlife trade, deforestation, pollution, overexploitation, climate, etc. The rate at which the number of species of animals and plants is depleting keeps increasing at an alarming rate” she added.
“According to scientists, approximately 200 species of plants and animals are estimated to be getting extinct every 24 hours, which accounts for nearly 73,000 species of plants and animals annually”.
Considering the contribution of wildlife in balancing the ecosystem, she said “we cannot afford to lose our wildlife as they are essential for the survival of humans. The earth with no wildlife will be a desolate and dry planet, impossible for human survival. Therefore, it is important that we protect and conserve our wildlife for our own good, our communities, and for the longevity of the planet.”
On her part, Ms. Louisa Kabobah, the Project Manager on the Ghana Recycling Initiative by Private Enterprises (GRIPE), advised the pupils to desist from indiscriminate disposal of post-consumer plastics on the beaches.
She urged them to place their used plastics packaging in covered waste bins, and when they cannot locate any bins around, they should keep them in their bags, and dispose of them in bins when at home.
She added that when plastics are improperly disposed of, they could cause serious health problems for humans, and lethal consequences for marine life especially seabirds, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles.
She appealed to the school children to segregate their waste into plastics, paper, and organic at school, and get in touch with the appropriate collectors, and recyclers to pick them up.
Furthermore, she appealed to the children to commit to conserving “our invaluable and irreplaceable wildlife for the benefit of current and future generations.”
She added that World Wildlife Day should be viewed as an occasion to celebrate all species, whether common or rare, as they all had significant roles to play in the food web. She also appealed to all Ghanaians to do one thing today to conserve nature, and wildlife for sustainable development, and for posterity.
Ms. Louisa concluded with a quote by Ivonne Higuero (Secretary-General of CITES), that says, “We understand the damage we are doing to wildlife; we understand how this damage affects our present and future, and we know what we need to do to reverse course. Let’s do it!”