Liberia is a key source and transit country for illegal wildlife trade (IWT) in West Africa. In the country’s capital city, Monrovia, markets are well-known trade hubs, and porous international borders allow for easy, unregulated transboundary trafficking. Wildlife such as chimpanzees and Timneh parrots are wild-caught for the pet and entertainment trade, forest elephants are hunted for their ivory, most of which is for export, and pangolins and others animals are targeted for national, regional and international demand for wild meat and other wildlife products. Many species face serious decline across their range in the Mano River Union (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire) and West Africa.
Since 2016, FFI has been working with partners to establish a national Law Enforcement Sub-Committee to foster better coordination in the implementation of Liberia’s wildlife law. From 2018, FFI has actively sourced funding to strengthen Liberia’s law enforcement capacity by improving coordination between enforcement agencies to detect and respond to national and transboundary IWT, and increasing public awareness and understanding of IWT issues, laws and penalties. This work spans Liberia as well as transboundary forest areas in Guinea (Ziama-Wonegizi-Wologizi landscape), Côte d’Ivoire (Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo landscape) and Sierra Leone (Gola landscape).
So far, FFI and partners have supported in-country agencies to develop a national strategy to combat wildlife crime, started collecting data on the extent of IWT across Liberia, and strengthened conservation networks, leading to more successful prosecutions of wildlife offenders.