Delegation of the European Union to Ghana

European Union Supports Forestry Commission to Conduct Wildlife Census in the Mole National Park in Ghana

20/03/2019 - 13:41
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The European Union Delegation to Ghana is supporting the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission in Ghana to conduct Wildlife Census in the Mole National Park. This consists of training of staff at the Park to assist in using a light aircraft to carry out Aerial Wildlife Census and Ground Line Transect Counting of the wildlife of the Park.

Mole Park staff is improving capacity and skills on new tools to support their daily job to better manage the park

This initiative follows a request made by the Forestry Commission to the European Union to fund the census of the wildlife of the Mole National Park, to update the population of the key species of wild animals in the Park.

The last census conducted at the Park was  in 2006, and needed to be updated every five years. This exercise has become necessary to allow the Park Management to assess the current population of the key species of wildlife to facilitate a review and update of the Park’s Management Plan. This will enable the Forestry Commission to meet one of the major requirements to  proceed with an application to UNESCO to consider listing the Park as a World Heritage Site.

The wildlife census will be conducted by Bushskies Aerial Photography, a company from Namibia, in partnership with the Namibia University of Science and Technology. The census will be carried out with the support of selected staff of  Mole National Park, who will be provided with special training to equip them to:

  • Conduct a ground based counting of the wild animals using line transects methods:
  • Act as observers to conduct an aerial wildlife census using a light aircraft;
  • Assess aerial photographic imagery for an assessment of the wildlife populations;
  • Use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) methods to locate and map the populations of the wild animals in order to enhance organisation and management of the spatial data collected by field staff.
  • To develop and implement an ecological monitoring system to enable the systematic assessment of ecological processes and trends within the Park in the short to long-term.

The population survey will report on the following key species: Elephants, Buffalos, Hartebeests, Roan Antelopes, Waterbucks, Kobs, Duikers, Oribi, Bushbucks, Warthogs, Baboons, Lions, Leopards and Spotted Hyenas.

Staff training and field work at the Park started on 27th February, 2019,  and will continue for one month, to the end of March. Data analysis and report writing will however continue to the end of August 2019.

Protected areas are important for preserving cultural values, historical sites, biological diversity and environmental sustainability. They are also major socio-economic assets that contribute to national development as a source of employment, income generation and livelihood support. They provide enormous potential for tourism and the development of associated private enterprises. These opportunities arise not only inside the protected areas but also in their adjoining peripheral buffer zones and neighbouring areas, thus contributing to poverty reduction in the local communities. 

It is, therefore, necessary to support the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in the protected areas which maintain the ecological integrity of the wildlife and ecosystems. For the European Union Delegation to Ghana, conducting a wildlife census and staff training at Mole Park will  not only contribute to having a more accurate number of wildlife in the Park, but also for the capacity building of the staff working at the Park.

The census of the wildlife populations will generate knowledge about the current population status and the distribution of the key species of the Park. The use of the GIS and the establishment of the ecological monitoring system will enable a wider coverage of the Park in surveillance and thus enhance the management effectiveness of the Park staff.

The EU welcomes this partnership with the Forestry Commission to conduct this exercise which will churn out the final report that will enable the review and update of the Management Plan of the Park.

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