Four people are in police custody in the Sissala East Municipality for allegedly killing an elephant.
The Municipal Police Commander, DSP Gbelle Kumpe, told the Ghana News Agency that the four would be arraigned before court on charges of killing the elephant at the Gbele Game Reserve.
“There was a report from the Forestry Commission that an elephant was killed and on 20 May 2020, after an investigation, we carried out a raid and 12 persons were arrested. A search conducted revealed the tail of the elephant and other body parts [and also led to] the retrieval of three guns from them.”
He said the four are alleged to have participated in the killing of the elephant and that the elephant’s tusk was later dumped behind the Bugubelle Police Station.
DSP Kumpe said the four, who were on police inquiry bail, would be sent to Wa for prosecution once their dockets were ready.
Lifestyle is a barrier
“There is an attack on the forest and its resources, and my advice for all is to stop depleting the forest, or else if you get caught you will not be spared,” he said.
DSP Kumpe said the lack of co-operation from the public was disturbing, saying, “There is low co-operation from the public and that is the lifestyle of some of the people here. They have the habit of harbouring criminals,” he said, and urged everyone to support the police.
“There was no arrest of any child or any member of the family except the hunters who killed the elephant,” said DSP Kumpe.
The park manager of the Gbele Reserve, Dr Owusu Ansah, told a reporter: “It was in connection with the killing of a ten-year-old elephant whose ivory market value could cost $10,000, which motivated the poachers to kill the young elephant.”
A kilo of ivory fetches about US$2,000, said Dr Owusu Ansah. The ivory recovered weighs about 20 kilos and the elephant was about ten years old.
Chased them away
“For anybody to kill an elephant, the motivation will be to get the ivory sold, which is very valuable,” he said.
“Elephant hunting has been banned since 1989,” Dr Owusu Ansah added, “and in the past, Ghana had more elephants than Burkina Faso, according to the literature. But we have made the place uninhabitable for them due to attacks and we have chased them all away.”
The Sissala area still remains the elephants’ route into the Nazinga Forest Reserve in Burkina Faso and every year they come to visit. Hunters take advantage of their presence to kill them.