BREAKING NEWS: Bolong Fenyo Wildlife Reserve in Gunjur seems poisened

Villagers of Gunjur in the Gambia, thought they already had experienced the worst as they found out today that their wildlife reserve Bolong Fenyo seems to be poisened by the Chinese Golden Lead Factory. This factory is supposed to process fish to meal and fertilizer. Everything is red, and every living thing is dead. Villagers of Gunjur fear for their health and lives. ‘Our hearts broke today, and our anger has been fed to the limit. This paradise changed into hell’.

Bolong Fenyo Wildlife Reserve, the Gambia –  22th of may 2017

Bolong Fenyo Community Wildlife Reserve is red and dead

The Bolong Fenyo Community Wildlife Reserve is a protected area owned by the community of Gunjur, covering 320 hectares. It has a very important and high diversity of avi-fauna. It is more importantly a roosting and feeding area for terns, gulls and other species. The Bolong Fenyo Community Wildlife Reserve is gazetted in 2008 as the first national community owned reserve and has been an area under close monitoring as an African Waterfowl Census area since 2000.

Fenyo Bolong Wildlife Reserve

Today a group villagers went into the wildlife reserve and were shocked by what the found. Instead of a beautiful healthy wetland full of birds and animals, everything was dead and red from some kind of stuff. Local think it might be a toxic which is used in the factory. While fearing for their health the local environmentalists manage to fill a plastic bottle as a sample for research. With tears in their eyes they shot some pictures and went back home.
Who could believe this would ever happen? These people who are responsible must pay for this now!

Complete devastation of an important Gambian Wildlife Reserve

Complete devastation of a very important area is a fact now. This is not the first time. It happened earlier this month on the beaches of Kartong, Gunjur and even up to Kololi. The beach is covered in thousands of washed up dead fish every day. It smells like hell, no tourist want to be here anymore. Some people are even crying when they see the devastation of our coastline. Who is going to pay for this? How long are we going to accept this? Is it even possible for this bolong to recover or will it be doomed to die?

The Gunjur Environment Protection and Development Group (GEPADG) – who are committed to protecting the wonderful surroundings including the Bolong Fenyo (a community wildlife reserve that is a unique wetland area).

What happened in Gunjur this month

Not long ago the Chinese Golden Lead Factory in Gunjur was found with self-made pipelines which were going into the ocean. It seems that another kind of (maybe toxic) stuff was dumped here because the water color didn’t look red like like the Fenyo Bolong Wildlife Reserve. Specific fish species like red and white snapper, captainfish and guitarfish already depleted according to local fisherman in Gunjur and Kartong.

The pipeline the Chinese Golden Lead Factory made were going straight into the ocean

‘The government must act now and safe our future before it is too late. Our tourists will be gone soon. And then we are left with what? A completely destroyed and poisened environment? Who could ever survive here? We are being poisened right now and our fishstocks are depleting fast. This factory must close down right now and be removed. We want a protected area and a future for our childeren. We will fight for it till our last breath.’

– Musa Manneh

And this was the result. Thousands of dead fish wash up everywhere along the coastline now

‘This will be the end of our tourism in the Gambia very soon’

This complete destruction is only the work of the first Golden Lead Factory based in Gunjur. The second factory is not even finished but will be operational very fast.

‘This one is even bigger then the one in Kartong. Can you believe the scale of environmental damage when the second one opens? This will be the end of our tourism very soon. It is not even possible to breath in some areas. Diseases could spread and we are afraid to eat our own fish. We are crying for our children right now. It’s not even an option to close the factories. They have to be closed down and demolished before it is too late. We have to think differently in the Gambia, we have to think sustainable. Our environment is our future. We can not allow the second factory to open too.’ stated Musa Manneh.

The scale of the Fish Factory in Kartong is unbelieveble, its the size of at least 2 footballfields

Villagers threatened by factory owners

Villager and environmental activist Omar Saho was threatend by the factory owners this week. First they tried to give him money, if he would shut his mouth. Saho did not accept the bribery and only said he was advocating for environmental issues because he was worried. Then the Chinese owners found out where he lived and threatened his mum and wife. Saho was scared but not in the country to help his family.

Illegal dumpings

Another iritantion the locals have are the continuous dumpings of fish. Its been dumped everywhere. In the bushes close to the village and even lodges! ‘This is causing health problems. Other dumpings happen on the beach itself where mass graves are dug to dump all the dead fish in. Kombo area is turing into one big smelling graveyard’ tells a villager.

This is what Minisiter James Gomez thinks about it

The protesters request for the Chinese company to be relocated is not going to happen. Hear Minister Gomez: “ But who is the government? You think any government will accept people would just come and say relocate this and.. Have they done an environmental study; the people that are demonstrating? Have they done an environmental study that can tell you that if this is situated here it will create a problem? When these people applied, they had to do certain things. The authority has to begin to say okay, if this factory is here, what is the impact? All the studies were done before the authority was given for them to start that factory. So, do you think my brother, any government would just sit and when a group come and say we don’t want this in this area and let move it to another place? And another group say let remove it and move it to another place.

Quoted from the Interview in Freedom Newspaper

This is what the local people feel about it

In our opinion this denial of facts will be the end of tourism. The greed for money is killing us here. We want clean beaches, we don’t want the filthy Chinese and Mauritanian jobs. We want to start Gambian companies and treat our environment sustainable. We need change our way of fishing and we need change in our way of thinking dear Minister Gomez. Completely, everywhere on the media we find articles about how West-Africa is exploited by the Chinese.

We have no shark left in our waters. How will the SOS turtle project in Gunjur develop? Lat year was the first year that no leatherback turtles at all were seen on Gambian beaches.. which points to almost extinct? Its no different then the rhino’s.  We need to choose for our wildlife instead for money Minister Gomez.

The Leatherback turtle is almost extinct in the Gambia. Last year was the first year none were seen!

How many tourists do want to see huge factories and smell dead fish in an area that used to be a paradise? Our tourism sector is in real danger, and that’s where our real money is. And our future! Allowing these two factories to operate is in the long term the worst idea ever. Our complete ecosystem is collapsing. What do we leave for our children? This is just a greedy way of harvesting fish and making money until everything is gone. There is nothing sustainable about this way of fishing. And we will be left with an empty ocean. They will take their company and go to another country when the fish is gone. It is as simple as that. Wisdom is looking further then only your wallet, we want to give our children a bright future. These plans are insane and should be turned back in order to save our tourism sector.

We fight for our right, SIGN THE PETITTION

Last saturday the first protest against the Golden Leaf Factory was organized in Kartong by environmentalist Mustapha Manneh. Many people raised their voice because the don’t accept the operations of our Chinese investors. We cannot allow to continue these operations. Our futures are in danger, our health, our environment, our businesses. And they even have the balls to threaten us.

We cannot longer accept this and therefore we started a petition to make the government aware of what is going on here. We won’t stop until they listen to us. We won’t relent.

Local people of Kartong and Gunjur in the protest last Saturday

Article By Musa Manneh

Also read How to change Gambia’s future

Check our Facebook page Stop golden Lead Factory

Check Green Wall Warriors on Facebook

More about Bolong Fenyo Wildlife Reserve

Sing the petition now


  1. it may be the same poison. organic matters released In quantity can create an overgrowth of alguae and of bacteria. depending of the conditions( salinity, oxygenation, temperature) the bacteria and the alguae that develop can be diferents and so give different color to the water. we need a more scientific aproche to prove what is the cause of this carnage. from there also if we have the proof that is this factory ( very probable) that is responsible, it will be easier to get the help of the government. if ever we find that’s an other cause, then we will not loose time in addressing the real causes.we need a scientific organisation that come analyse the reasons fast

  2. To day we must realize that China is a new and violent imperilist state under the cover up of working for the people. Their plundering of the Gambia and other areas not the least in Africa has to be stopped. A united Africa against imperialism – including the Chinese variant!

  3. This is atrocious! Because they are a small population, with little power, they are over-run by greedy corporations, where the local Government is in their pockets!! This reminds me of Sci-fy movies, where aliens come to deplete all of Earths natural resources, then move on to another planet. Stomping on anything in their way.. Disgusting, human behavior!

  4. I will never understand why African’s are not running and developing their own country together. They have the most abundance of resources on earth, that is why everyone else is coming into the country to rob, steal and get rich. Granted colonialism happen many years ago, but it is now 2017 and Africans all over the continent need to come together and stop letting foreigners divide them and create war and civil strife. Why does a Chinese man feel comfortable to be in Africa, a black continent, and threaten a man in his own country. See if you can go to his country and do the same. I think not. That is your home, and if you do not start to take control, care and invest in it yourself, you best believe no one from another land will. You don’t need to rely on everyone else to do what you can do and need to do for the people of your land. These people from other countries need you, and the resources of the continent more than you need them. Africa and Africans should be one of, if not the, richest place on earth. Stop the corruption amongst yourself and get it together, by coming together. Set aside your differences, the power is in togetherness.

  5. Violent action is needed – peaceful action won’t work with the Chinese. There needs to be a community uprising. Its that serious. Otherwise your going to die anyway. What do you have to loose?

  6. I am so sorry this has happened to your beautiful country and wildlife. The perpetrators should be brought to task for this terrible act. I am one of those people thinking of coming to the Gambia for a holiday in the not to distant future, but I am worried now for your tourism and for the people who rely on fishing for their life. Please Government of Gambia close down the factories and let the people help restore their Wildlife and fishing to enable them to live. It is disgusting that in this day and age things like this can happen, it is all greed and money and eventually their will be no wildlife left and wild places, which will mean a poorer earth. Very sad.

  7. China:

    Rhino horn
    Elephant Ivory
    Shark fin
    Over fishing
    Exploitation of minerals in Africa
    State capture

    How can 1 country be allowed to continue to rape the world and its resources

  8. Replace the government leaders, and sabotage the new factory if it is not shut down. What kind of government official ignores harm to his people and country and makes excuses for the foreign intruder that are stripping the area of its beauty and resources? Claiming the protesters haven’t done the required “studies” of the environment but the Chinese operators have?? If there were requirements to protect the conservation, why aren’t they being enforced? No, these people need to be kicked out of the country. They do not care about Gambia, they are renters, not residents! Evict them and let the Gambian people have control over their land! And get rid of that government official–demand he step down! Replace him with someone who will protect the health and lives and Beaty of Gambia!

  9. I Am sad and angry.My heart is in The Gambia.Locals don’t give up..!!
    .Its your country,your future,your life…..
    Together you can do iT!!!Fight back.
    Make The change!!!
    I have seen The dammage in Gunjur, and my heart was bleeding.
    Greetings helma schnyder

  10. I have been in Gunjur for holidays very often, mostly with my family. Some years ago Jammeh built a pompous mosque at the place where the beautiful hostel was before – and now this! We can’t come any more to this country. We have to seek the next untouched place on earth – before it’s destroyed also.

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