In The Gambia people are very proud of their rich natural heritage. This can be seen to be manifested in different ways, including the Banjul Declaration of 1977, the provision of six government managed protected areas totalling nearly 3.9% of the land area in The Gambia, and through the country's far-reaching and forward-thinking wildlife law. The Gambia is also meeting its international obligations in preserving the world's biodiversity by being a signatory to many international conventions, including the Convention on Biodiversity, and the Ramsar Convention.
The government departments of Forestry, Fisheries, Parks and Wildlife Managment and the National Environment Agency (under the Department of State for Fisheries, Natural Resources and the Environment) are the main government bodies that are tasked with the protection of natural resources, habitats and wildlife in the Gambia. This is an awesome task, as in a small country such as ours there is a real need to marry protection hand in hand with the sustainable use of natural resources by humans, and to reach a compromise that can be accepted by a quickly growng population.
One of the tools that the Gambian government uses to prevent over-exploitaton of wild animals is the Wildlife Act of 1977. In essence the law is fairly simple: in order to safeguard the country's wildlife and natural history, all wildlife in The Gambia is protected by law. Anyone that is found hunting, selling, importing or exporting, or keeping wild animals as pets is breaking the law and may be prosecuted, fined and imprisoned for a term of up to one year.
Please help us to help The Gambia retain its rich natural heritage. If you know of any hunting, selling, or any wild animal that is being kept in captivity, or if someone offers to sell you any wild animal or part of any wld animal, please inform the DPWM. The telephone number is 375888.
It is a sobering reflection that in a relatively short period of our history most of our larger wildlife species have disappeared together with much of the original forest cover. The survival of the wildlife still remaining with us and the setting aside of protected natural habitats for them is the concern of all of us.
It would be tragic if this priceless natural heritage, the product of millions of years of evolution, should be further endangered or lost for want of proper concern. This concern is a duty we owe to ourselves, to our great African heritage and to the world.
Thus I solemnly declare that my Government pledges its untiring efforts to conserve for now and posterity as wide a spectrum as possible of our remaining fauna and flora.