Over 400 acres of land encroached on at Tacugama

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Bala Amarasekaran

By Ishmael Dumbuya

In an interview with this medium, the founder and CEO of Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Bala Amarasekaran, has indicated that 300 to 400 acres of land has been encroached on at the Tacugama Sanctuary.

According to Director Bala, a significant number of those encroachers are either purported to be public officials or senior military officers, who thought they are above the law, and can do anything with immunity.

 Amarasekan expressed great concern over the worsening condition of the sanctuary, adding that the sanctuary is government owned, but that they have been paying little or no attention to the chimp facility at Tacugama. 

He went on to admonish that the Sanctuary should be protected and that people running the place should be from the line ministries that have been established to protect the forest and wildlife.

The director revealed that Tacugama is not only a sanctuary but also a water catchment, adding that even the Water Resources Ministry  and Guma Valley should be concerned about protecting the area.

“The Sanctuary is not only about keeping chimps, but also a form of generating water for the many citizens and residents of Freetown,” he disclosed.

Expressing his dissatisfaction, Bala said over the years successive governments’ have been downplaying the facility, thereby creating an avenue for encroachers.

He further stated that land encroachment has greatly affected the environment, calling on the government to educate citizens that the site is accessible to unauthorised individuals. He emphasised that Tacugama is the most attractive tourist site.

Director Bala concluded by calling on all ministries, departments and agencies to protect the land and the forest, stressing that land encroachers wanted to take over the sanctuary.

He added that they are establishing a botanical garden that will cover a minimum of 200 acres that will serve as an innovation center project that will be sponsored and funded by World Bank and the ministry of finance through the ministry of tourism, under the Sierra Leone Diversification Project.

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