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A conservation assessment of the herpetofauna of a moist semi-deciduous forest in Ghana

Musah Yahaya, Daniel K. Attuquayefio, Erasmus H. Owusu, Lars H. Holbech, Benjamin Y. Ofori

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.3(12), 186-197, December 2013

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Abstract

A conservation assessment of amphibians and reptiles was undertaken in the Gyemera Forest Reserve (GFR) and Gyeni River Forest Reserve (GRFR) in the Moist Semi-deciduous forests of the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Refuge examination, acoustic searches, pitfall trapping and interviews were employed in data collection at the study sites. Forty herpetofaunal species were recorded comprising 16 amphibians (two toads and 14 frogs) and 24 reptiles (one chelonian, 14 lizards and nine snakes). Four species (one lizard and three snakes) were not directly encountered but were recorded from interviews of local residents. The GRFR recorded a higher number of species than GFR and there was a low similarity in species composition between the sites (Sorenson’s Similarity Index CS = 0.52). Five species were widely distributed and frequently encountered and only 12 species were directly recorded within the forest reserves. The main threats to herpetofaunal species in the study area were habitat destruction and fragmentation due to illegal logging and small-scale/artisanal mining. Four species were of conservation concern; Phrynobatrachus alleni is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN and the other three; Kinixys erosa, Varanus niloticus and Python sebae are listed in CITES Appendix II where limited trading is allowed and are nationally protected. Inclusion of the local people in conversation initiatives as well as conservation education and awareness programmes would help sensitise and concientise them about the need to conserve biodiversity. Also, enforcement of the laws on illegal logging and mining should be intensified.

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A conservation assessment of the herpetofauna of a moist semi-deciduous forest in Ghana

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