WORLD ANIMAL DAY, 2015: Securing Water Availability for Animals; The Significance of Atewa Forest Reserve.

  • World Animal Day

On October 4, every year the world celebrates animals. The day was established in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence, Italy to highlight the plight of endangered animal species. Eighty four (84) years down the line in the celebration of this day, the world is still faced with scores of elephants and rhinoceros being massacred for their tusks and horns; Sharks hunted for their fins and Gorillas critically threatened by commercial hunting, logging and disease. We may not see these at our doorstep but they are real and current. However with increased awareness and education, the world can be a place where we recognize animals as sentient beings and their importance in the world that we share with them.

In Ghana, A Rocha with collaborative efforts from its partners is making a difference by spreading awareness on the nation's wildlife resources, the threats they face and how we can co-exist with them through community action. 

The Atewa Forest Reserve is home to a wide spectrum of wild animal species of which interestingly, some are rare and faced with threats of possible extinction, if not endangered. The nature reserve is headwaters for three main water bodies (Ayensu, Birim and Densu) in the country. Whereas, almost all animal species depend either directly or indirectly from its rich water resources for consumptive purposes, it is also home to a large variety of aquatic life forms.

  • Water is life!....the threats

Water indeed is a critical element that supports the survival of all living things. Its absence in inference is the absence of any life form. Unfortunately, the nature reserve (Atewa Forest Reserve) is currently suffering the bias of activities from illegal artisanal mining (alias, "Galamsey") groups and loggers whose unsuitable methods of operation is posing a serious threat to the reserve’s water bodies. In effect, habitats of aquatic animals are getting polluted with chemicals, additionally making it unsafe for consumption by other animals.

  • Atewa for National Park

The call by stakeholders for the re-designation of the forest reserve to the ecological status of a National Park is one of the sure means of ensuring protection of its rich water resources. Projects such as the "Living Water from the Mountain" (funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy), is set to use community based approaches to provide solutions that will ensure water resources of the reserve are not destroyed. 

Animals both within and outside the park equally depend on this same water resources for their survival. As we celebrate this year World Animal Day, let us remember the fact that, water is an irreplaceable element whose values and usefulness has no alternatives, and the need to preserve, protect and conserve is a non-negotiable call.

Long Live Atewa and its Water Bodies!! 

Long live our Animals!!!


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