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Friday, June 14, 2024

LIBERIA: CRISIS AT THE SAPO NATIONAL PARK: FDA’S COMMITMENT TO CHANGE

Date:

Residents of Jalay’s Town, the heart of the Sapo National Park in Sinoe County, find themselves in challenging circumstances. They face a lack of essential services like healthcare, communication networks, and basic amenities. These difficulties are aggravated by the absence of infrastructure and tourist attractions, hindering the park’s potential as an eco-tourism destination.

During a recent visit on April 18, 2024, by a delegation from the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), led by its new Managing Director, Mr. Rudolph Merab, these issues were brought to light. A significant portion of the park’s population lacks access to medical care due to the absence of a nearby clinic or healthcare facility. Moreover, the absence of communication networks makes it challenging for residents to access emergency services or maintain connections with the outside world.

Despite the natural beauty of the Sapo National Park, it struggles to attract tourists due to the lack of infrastructure and limited tourist attractions. This gap between the park’s potential and the current reality was evident during interviews with residents, who expressed dissatisfaction with their living conditions.

Residents’ sentiments highlight a feeling of neglect and marginalization, with many questioning why they have not benefited from the mineral resources extracted from their homeland. As the residents endure these poor living conditions, calls for urgent action from government authorities and stakeholders are growing louder.

However, Mr. Rudolph Merab’s visit to the park has provided a glimmer of hope for the residents. Accompanied by forestry experts and park rangers, Mr. Merab aimed to assess conservation efforts and identify opportunities for sustainable development within the park. He engaged with local stakeholders, including community leaders and environmental NGOs, to understand the challenges and opportunities facing the park better.

Mr. Merab’s visit reflects the Boakai-Koung government’s commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable development. It signals a new chapter in Liberia’s efforts to protect its natural resources and improve the lives of those living within the Sapo National Park.

Established in 1983 by the People’s Redemption Council, the Sapo National Park, named after the local Sapo (or Sao) tribe, is located east of the Sinoe River and south of the Putu Mountains. Despite its challenges, the park holds immense potential, and with the FDA’s renewed commitment, there is hope for a brighter future for its residents and the park itself. Credit: Spoon Network

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