MONROVIA — Liberia’s most endangered and threatened species are set to be better protected thanks to new funding to tackle the illegal wildlife trade announced by the British Embassy in Monrovia.
UK funding of US$1 million, under the UK’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, will support three new projects in Liberia to reduce the demand for chimpanzee bushmeat, improve wildlife law enforcement, and stem the tide of Liberia’s biodiversity loss.
Announcing the new funding, the British Ambassador H.E. Neil Bradley remarked that:
“The global illegal wildlife trade not only threatens species with extinction, fuels corruption, creates instability and deprives some of the world’s poorest communities of sustainable livelihoods, but is also linked to organised crime and zoonotic disease outbreaks.”
“Liberia is a biodiversity hotspot. Our shared challenge is to safeguard Liberia’s forests and wildlife, while enabling sustainable livelihoods for Liberia’s people. We are stronger when we tackle these challenges together.”
The Wild Chimpanzee Foundation has won funding from the UK to empower local women to reduce the illegal wildlife trade in Liberia. The project aims to reduce the demand for bushmeat and other IWT products and to improve wildlife law enforcement in Liberia, through collaboration and awareness raising with female bushmeat sellers in major bushmeat hubs, support for local female community ecoguards and capacity building for rangers.
A project led by PCI Media, in partnership with Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection, will receive UK funding to increase chimpanzee guardianship values by developing a national communications strategy to reduce the social acceptability of chimpanzee consumption. The aim is to eliminate demand for illegally trafficked chimpanzees by shifting social norms towards a caretaking relationship with nature.
Fauna & Flora International has been awarded UK fundingfor evidence-based, targeted situational crime prevention to curb the illegal wildlife trade. This approach to crime prevention has been applied effectively to reduce a range of crimes globally, including drug trafficking and maritime piracy, but its potential has yet to be fully evaluated in a conservation context. The project will collect the necessary research evidence, and build the capacity of conservation practitioners, to apply situational crime prevention in Liberia’s south eastern landscape around SAPO national park, ready for future implementation and evaluation.