By Mafugi Ceesay
President Barrow has been urged to help stop foreign bird hunters from killing wild Gambian birds.
There are growing fears wild birds are on the verge of extinction in central Baddibu as “massive hunting” by foreign nationals intensifies.
Residents believe birds such as ducks and doves will be completely nonextant in the next five years if the government fails to act.
“Foreign nationals, particularly Europeans are killing our wild birds in large numbers. They will soon extinct them all,” one native told The Standard.
Alassana Ceesay, a native of Baddibu based in Europe, asked why the hunters were granted license to “kill”.
“We see them regularly here hunting and anytime we confront them, these hunters will produce a government issued license from the Department of Wildlife,” he said.
Ousman Touray, a native of Salikenni village, complained that every dry season foreign nationals visit his village with local collaborators to “hunt down the wild birds, and pile them in sacks and bags. Sometimes the foreign hunters will spend all day killing doves and water ducks in large numbers,” Ousman complained.
A local hunter, he called on government to immediately look into the matter “very well” as the birds are almost extinct.
“Once foreign hunters filled a pick-up vehicle with slaughtered birds,” he claimed.
North Bank Region’s wildlife officer, Fabala Kinteh, agreed that his department does issue license to foreign hunters to hunt birds. But he clarified that the license was for “specific birds that are threats and a menace” to crops and other farm produces during planting, seedling and harvesting season.
Kinteh explicated that the weaver birds, doves and ducks are “threats to farm produces”.
“That is why we deem it necessary to downsize their numbers to reduce the dangers they pose to crops,” he stated.
“We also gave them license to kill bush hogs due to threat they pose to crops.”
Kinteh said his department received complaints from certified hunters who faced difficulties in hunting within Salikenni and Mandorry areas as locals would not allow them to hunt their birds.
He called on communities to allow hunters “help in downsizing the birds and bush hogs to reduce their danger to crops”.
He said all the hunters that were certified by his office were allocated a local hunter who serves as watchdogs to make sure hunters stay in line.