Hunting of wild animals has been a very important aspect of life in Ghanaian societies.
Hunting provides the main source of animal protein to many people in the rural areas in the past and more recently palatable meat for the affluent in the urban societies.
At present-day Ghana, some people such as Bushmeat dealers, Chop bar operators, and market women depend almost entirely on hunting to obtain essential commodities and cash income, while many other groups supplement their livelihood considerably by hunting.
To sustain the industry and other social benefits, a closed hunting season has been declared in Ghana for over 50 years now. Hunting of animals that are not under the direct care of human beings is prohibited by Wildlife Conservation Regulations L.I.685 of 1971.
This is necessary to allow the species targeted by hunters to replenish the stock. The closed season is the time of the year during which hunting an animal of a given species is contrary to law.
Typically, closed seasons are designed to protect a species when it is most vulnerable or, sometimes, to protect animals during their breeding season. In Ghana, it is prohibited to hunt, capture or destroy any wild animal listed as first schedule species i.e., species that are extinct, critically endangered, or become so if hunting is not regulated.
In addition, it is prohibited to hunt, capture or destroy any young animal or animal accompanied by the young between 1st August to 1st December, every year.
An exception has been given to hunting of grasscutter, but even that, one must obtain a permit from the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission. As a reminder, this year’s closed season must be respected by all and all good citizens of the country must play their roles in ensuring the sustainability of the use of wildlife and its products. It is also an opportunity to contribute to the achievement of SDG 14 and SDG 15, to conserve life below water and on land respectively.
by Prof. Edward D. WiafeDean, School of Natural and Environmental SciencesUniversity of Environment and Sustainable Development, Somanya