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Ecological status of large mammals of a moist semi-deciduous forest of Ghana: implications for wildlife conservation

Benjamin Yeboah Ofori, Daniel Korley Attuquayefio and Erasmus Heneku Owusu

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.2(2), 28-37, February 2012

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Abstract

A preliminary survey was conducted in the Gyeni River and Gyemera Forest Reserves and an off-reserve area within the Moist Semi-Deciduous forest of the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region, Ghana, to assess the ecological status of large mammals at the area. The study involved transect-walks and interviews with local people. Overall, a total of 23 large mammal species were considered to be potentially present at the study area. Nineteen (83%) of these species belonging to five orders, Pholidota, Carnivora, Hyracoidea, Artiodactyla and Primates were confirmed. The relative abundance of large mammal species (Ar) was low, with high similarity of species composition between study sites (Sorenson Index SI > 0.7) Thirteen of the mammals were of conservation concern; six species, including olive colobus monkey (Procolobus verus), Pel’s anomalure (Anomalurus peli), black duicker (Cephalophus niger), tree-, giant-, and long-tailed pangolins (Phataginus tricuspis, Smutsia gigantea and Manis tetradactyla) are Near Threatened, one species, Geoffroy’s pied colobus monkey (Colobus vellerosus) is Vulnerable and the rest, including bay duicker (Cephalophus dorsalis), Maxwell’s duicker (Cephalophus maxwelli), royal antelope (Neotragus pygmaeus), African civet (Civettictis civetta), African palm-civet (Nandinia binotata) and red river hog (Potamocheorus porcus) are nationally protected. The threats to large mammals included hunting and habitat loss and fragmentation via slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging and small scale mining operations. Initiation of biodiversity conservation education, awareness and training programmes for the local people is reccomended for conservation and management of wildlife and their habitats at the study area.

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