Forest Rangers in Ghana in serious  Danger Forest Rangers in Ghana in serious  Danger
Forest Rangers  in  Ghana are facing life threatening challenges in their operations in conserving and protecting Forest Reserves and its wildlife  in the Country... Forest Rangers in Ghana in serious  Danger

Forest Rangers  in  Ghana are facing life threatening challenges in their operations in conserving and protecting Forest Reserves and its wildlife  in the Country .

 Forest Rangers in Ghana have become vulnerable to repetitive assaults and attacks by poachers,illegal miners and illegal Chainsaw operators .
These illegal operators  invade forest reserves armed with sophisticated weapons juxtapose with  Forest Rangers who mostly work in forest reserves armless or with few rudimentary weapons.
Brutal assaults and  attacks on Forest Ranger in Ghana continue to increase unabated  .Some rangers have over the years been gun -down while others have sustained various degrees of injuries .
What makes the issue more dangerous is the fact that,perpetrators mostly work at night to thwart arrest hence forest guards sometimes also work at night in the deep forest to arrest culprits .
The increasing phenomenon has compelled the Central Regional Director of Forestry Commission Mr Ebenezer Adagblety to make a clarion call on government to immediately put in place measures to address the life threatening dangers associated with the work of Forest rangers by providing the needed logistics to keep rangers safe .
 The Forestry Director, chronicled several deadly attacks on rangers detailed to clampdown on illegal operators in the forest .
He said ,government must provide the commission weapons to protect the forest reserves .
The Eastern regional Director of Forestry Commission,Mr.Attah Owusu  addressing the media in January this year ,after arrest of some 29 foreigners who invaded the Atewa Forest to illegally mine gold ,enumerated insecurity as one the challenges of forestry officials.
He explained that,perpetrators of ecological crimes are armed and aggressive to Forestry rangers exposing  staff to life threatening risk hence the Commission mostly fall on the Military and Police for major operations in the forest reserves to avoid being massacred .
 A Clampdown on illegal mining in Ghana by government has led to increase in illegal chainsaw, and other ecological crimes .
Begoro District Forestry Manager , Kwame Oteng Awuah has noted that, the incidents of illegal lumbering has risen recently in the area following government clampdown on illegal gold mining. The frustrated illegal miners are reportedly diversifying into illegal logging in the Forest Reserve posing danger to the forests.
He however said ,the commission has intensified surveillance and patrol in the forest both day and night .
The Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2014, yet to be passed by Ghana’s Parliament has among other things made provisions for Forest Guards to posses firearms .

The purpose of the Bill is to consolidate and revise the laws relating to wildlife and Forest reserves through the  incorporation of provisions of the various International Conventions, relating to wildlife, which Ghana has ratified into the domestic legislation.

The bill also seeks to bring wildlife administration abreast of current management structures and best practices. The Bill further aims at involving the various wildlife host communities in the management of the Natural resources .

During the Celebration  of World Environment Day  on June 5,2017 ,the Acting Executive Director of Environmental Protection Agency ,Ghana ,John Pwamang  stated that,the rate of deforestation averages in Ghana is average 22,000 hectares per annum .

The rate is one of the highest in Africa and the world hence must be addressed .Deforestation in Ghana is mainly driven by illegal mining,illegal logging,agricultural activities , and wildfire triggered by poachers and Nomadic herdsmen .

Article by Kojo Ansah -Environmental Journalist