By: Saidina Alieu Jarjou, Political and Civil Rights Activist
Dear President Barrow, I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to draw your attention to the urgent need for wildlife conservation and protection in The Gambia. The country’s diverse ecosystems and unique biodiversity are national treasures that require immediate attention and action to safeguard for future generations.
I am concerned about recent news on social media reporting the killing of a Hippopotamus that was donated to you. This action is in violation of the Banjul Declaration of 1977, which prohibits such activities. As a responsible citizen, I have witnessed the growing threats to our wildlife, including illegal poaching, habitat destruction, and encroachment of human activities into sensitive ecosystems. The delicate balance of our natural world is in peril, and it is our responsibility to protect it.
I would like to bring to your attention that Tanzania is successfully protecting its wildlife, and this has translated into substantial economic benefits. In 2021, wildlife tourism generated US$2.6 billion, contributing 5.7% to the country’s GDP. By protecting our wildlife, we can improve the lives and livelihoods of our citizens significantly. Our wildlife, including iconic species such as Hippos, plays a vital role in our environment and contributes to our national identity. The loss of these species would be an ecological tragedy and a blow to our tourism industry and cultural heritage.
I humbly request your government’s commitment to take action to ensure the protection and conservation of our wildlife. This can be accomplished by enforcing existing laws and regulations related to wildlife conservation and establishing stricter penalties for illegal poaching and trade of wildlife products. It is also important to launch public awareness campaigns to educate citizens about the importance of wildlife conservation and the consequences of poaching and habitat destruction. Allocating resources to support local and international organizations working on wildlife conservation initiatives is essential. Establishing protected areas and wildlife corridors to preserve natural habitats and involving local communities in wildlife conservation efforts will ensure that they benefit from the protection of these resources.
Your leadership can make a significant difference in protecting our wildlife and preserving our natural heritage. By implementing comprehensive wildlife conservation measures, we can ensure a sustainable future for The Gambia and leave a legacy of environmental stewardship for generations to come.
Thank you for your attention to this pressing matter. I look forward to a Gambia that embraces its role as a guardian of wildlife and natural beauty.