Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Sierra Leone protects forest

05 December 2011, 10:46

Sierra Leone - Sierra Leone has conferred protected national park status on a remote tract of forest that has attracted attention for its iron ore mining potential.

The creation of the 71 000ha Gola Forest National Park near the border with Liberia is aimed at preserving the largest remaining fragment of the Upper Guinea rainforest in Sierra Leone. It is the second such park in the West African country.

The area is home to 300 species of bird, 600 butterfly species and 45 species of mammals, including some 300 chimpanzees.

Around 140 000 people live in the area, whose park status was confirmed in a ceremony on Saturday with President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Iron ore production was restarted in Sierra Leone in November and shipments in 2012 could start transforming the local economy. The International Monetary Fund expects gross domestic product to leap by around 50% in 2012 as a result of iron.


"The mining threat still exists; but the president has been absolutely resolute that mining will not come into the park," said Tim Stowe of Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, one of the project backers.

Local people also search for diamonds and gold in the Gola Forest. Koroma said illegal miners would face consequences - a prospect which dismays some of the area's inhabitants.

"This is the place we used to go to get our money to carry on our lives," said Musa Taimeh, a 40-year-old from Tunkia chiefdom. "We cannot go to farm there, we cannot go to log; we cannot go to mine diamonds."

Sierra Leone receives very few tourists, with many foreigners still put off by associations with a bloody civil war that ended nine years ago.

Supporters of the park admit they expect few visitors initially, but hope soon to cover running costs by using the value of the forest's ability to cleanse the atmosphere of carbon dioxide as an off offset for emissions of greenhouse gases elsewhere.

The opening of the park coincides with a major scandal over allegations of corruption in the use of local natural resources.

A documentary film alleged two men in the office of Sierra Leone's Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana accepted bribes from undercover reporters in return for a promise that the vice president would back an illegal logging project.

The government has said it is investigating the allegations, which have been denied by Sam Sumana's office.

- Reuters

Join in the conversation on News24 Kenya’s Facebook page.

Get the latest news by following us on Twitter.


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
kel wesh
Poisonous milk powder siezed by K...

The Kenya Revenue Authority has seized two containers with illegal milk powder which had been declared as gypsum board at Mombasa port. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Be ready for protests, Raila warn...

Expect protests if meddling with Auditor General continues, Raila Odinga has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Kenya says will return to interna...

Kenya will return to international markets to borrow when it feels the time is right, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said on Tuesday. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
DP Ruto not affected by Peter Ken...

The DP is not affected by the move to join the Jubilee Party by Peter Kenneth. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
2017 countdown: Lots to ponder fo...

The battle for votes ahead of the 2017 elections has taken a mini stage in Kisii during a by-election that is set to show where exactly rivals CORD and Jubilee have peaked. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Close up your party, Jubilee MP t...

Close your party and join Jubilee fully, an MP has urged Peter Kenneth. Read more...