Protection of wild life …….by Garlapaty Sitharamaiah, UNVI, Hyderabad, India
My second UNV journey from April to November 2005 for the presidential elections in Liberia started as Electoral Support Officer for Sinoe county in it s headquarters Greenville.
Greenville…is really green everywhere with good flora and fauna. The people have education centers, health centers, and good football courts but what they lack? Is it food…….. No is my answer. They have Vegetables…not abundance and If talking about rice not much needed as Cassava (a type of root of plants are there)just like potato for them. They can work hard with abundant land and water resource but no formal ideas about a systematic and organized cultivation and farming activities like mango/orange groves. This happened to rubber plantation and gold/diamond querying. Thus leads to smuggling and later it became chronic and leads to civil war.
As ESO even though my prime activity is election but in the process I have ample of opportunity to observe their way of life and want to know certain bad elements which they can give up without Losing anything except for their luxury taste and hunting. Somehow my concentration has gone to a barbaric activity of eating monkeys that to very big monkeys which are cute creatures of god and are in the line of extinction? In the beginning I didn’t notice but one day I went for the monitoring of elections with my county National officials to a village called Voogbardee a remote place. When I returned I saw a dead monkey at the back of my Nissan .I enquired and stunned after they told that it is sweetest food for them that too for my counterparts?
This gave me ample opportunity as I first thoroughly counseled my team consists of national election workers not only they should do the election work but also whenever they find time in campaign they should at least allot one hour to council the people about the richness of the SAPO Park and protection of wild animals. I even stunned that The SAPO national park which is exactly situated in my allotted districts for elections. It was named after a local tribe called SAPO. It is highest mammal species diversity of any region in the world. During the Liberian Civil War, SAPO National Park fell into the hands of rebel forces, and much of the park's infrastructure and equipment was damaged or destroyed. With the help of CAO I located the spot and tried to counsel them for the wild life protection includes killing of monkeys and snakes. Even I talked to some of the wild life protection officials about this and requested them to ask for any help monetarily(to send any team or persons who can be trained for counsel the people for wildlife protection) and for any advise with CAO whether they can allot some small amount in the account of Quick impact projects .
I shocked to see selling monkey and big snake publicly like bananas. I saw a baby monkey which was tighten to a bench for sale. When I tried to give a banana it did not take, instead with a lot of fear it went back to the bench to hide herself for being killed for food. I really felt very sad as I have seen the fear in her eyes and her heart beat. I somehow managed to buy it for 15 dollars and let her in near forest. Then I thought it is just not this action makes them change but a constant counseling made them realize not to harm the monkeys. It worked. A parrot can speak if you go on speaking at her………a lion can be danced if the trainer is capable and why not human? My attempt to mingle with people with the help of my dynamic counterpart Ceaser made it possible to convince the people about what exactly I want. I have discussed this matter with our mission colleagues also.
We cannot change anything immediately it requires time and constant effort. After all what about slavery in history? How many years and how much sacrifices it took to have a change. A good listener will be good communicator. One can cut a diamond with a diamond only. If one listener will be satisfied sure it will spread like wild fire.
Whenever I saw a monkey stretching its hands to have a coconut or banana in the temple my mind will take a flight to Greenville via Monrovia to the rich and lush green forests to see the baby monkey and its fear for life. Always my sympathy and affection towards lush green forests and enjoyment of watching very rare live things like running of chimpanzee across the roads with big sounds forced me to take up this task of protecting the wild life to give a small message to the future generations.