Earlier this week staff from the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) together with the National Protected Area Authority (NPAA) Executive Director, Mr. Thomas Faya Kamara, along with his deputy, Mr. Dwight Sheriff, and their team, visited Lake Sonfon to fully enforce the law for the protection of the lake. On the 18th June 2024 NPAA did a spot check at Lake Sonfon to halt all immediate mining activities within and around Lake Sonfon. The spot check was jointly done with the Sierra Leone Police, District stakeholders and the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, represented by our field assistant, Mohamed Turay. Supported by security forces, they conducted a raid on the Lake Sonfon mining area in Koinadugu District, Diang Chiefdom. This operation aimed to halt illegal mining activities occurring within this nationally protected area.

The NPAA is tasked with protecting all ecosystem areas under its jurisdiction. The decision to target Lake Sonfon was driven by the significance this area for environmental conservation. Illegal mining activities were threatening the lake’s survival, prompting immediate action from the NPAA.

Lake Sonfon is a vital protected area, home to a rich array of wildlife, including crocodiles, fish, crabs, and other iconic species that attract tourists. The mining activities were deemed harmful to the environment and needed to be stopped immediately.

“To witness the strict action against illegal mining companies was very satisfying for me. Lake Sonfon plays a very important role for our culture and our survival. As an environmental activist I have been advocating for the protection of the lake since more than a decade. Now as staff of CSSL I am happy to accompany the Executive Director of NPAA when he and his team accomplish their task and save the lake, it´s unique environment and the source of living for the communities around the lake.”

As a result of the NPAA’s intervention, all mining operations at Lake Sonfon have been ceased. The arresting of Chinese nationals who are mainly operating right inside the demarcated area of the lake was conducted. This action was a result of the continuous dialogue and engagements CSSL has been undertaken with NPAA and EPA through its various interventions over the years for the protection of Lake Sonfon. It aligns with the government´s commitment to preserving the environment and protecting the lake’s biodiversity.

“We hope this is not a one time action for the cameras but a sign of real commitment from our government to take the protection of Lake Sonfon serious and to enforce the law with all means available against illegal activities in protected areas.”

More information about our work at Diang Chiefdom: project page Saving Lake Sonfon

CSSL Newsletter 2-2024

In this issue, the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone promotes livelihood activities in Big wata community to encourage the community to move away from the

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