Effect of protected area category on mammal abundance in Western Ghana

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Research Paper 01/08/2012
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Effect of protected area category on mammal abundance in Western Ghana

Emmanuel Danquah, Samuel K. Oppong, Mac E. Nutsuakor
J. Bio. Env. Sci.2( 8), 50-57, August 2012.
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A comparative study of the species composition and encounter rates of mammals (>400g) in two different protected area categories was conducted in the Bia-Goaso Forest Block in western Ghana from April 2008 to February 2009. One hundred and eighty-seven line transects were systematically distributed in an extensive network of 2 wildlife reserves and 9 forest reserves. Mammal signs (droppings and tracks) belonging to twenty-three species (2 rodents; 5 primates; 6 carnivores and 10 ungulates), representing 4 Families and 17 Genera were recorded for the survey period. The most abundant species recorded were brush-tailed porcupine (Antherurus africanus 14.0%), mammal signs, marsh cane rat (Thryonomys swinderianus; 13.4%), Maxwell’s duiker (Cephalophus maxwelli; 11.3%) and bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus; 10.2%). Large mammals, including elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis), buffalo (Sycerus caffer nanus), chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) and leopard (Panthera pardus) had relative abundance of less than 1.0%. Mammal density was significantly greater (Mann-Whitney U test: U=3057.0, P<0.01) in wildlife reserves (31 signs per km; 66%) than forest reserves (16 signs per km; 34%). Species richness in wildlife reserves (13 species; 57%) was however not very different (U=2262.5, P>0.05) from forest reserves (10 species; 43%).The forest reserves seem to be achieving only partial success in protecting wildlife, whereas wildlife reserves seem to be considerably more effective, although not entirely successful. The results calls for renewed efforts to include more wildlife protection in the management priorities of Ghana’s forest reserves.


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