Home > Climate Change, Environment > Ghana’s Wildlife Becoming Homeless

Ghana’s Wildlife Becoming Homeless

A large percentage of Ghana’s wildlife are losing their homes as their habitats are taken over by agricultural, economic social and other human activities with the result that their population is fast dwindling.
A major contributory factor is the notion among farmers that wildlife constitutes a pest which compete directly with their agricultural activities. They therefore do not care if wildlife is destroyed by other people and may even be accomplices.
This was disclosed by Mr. Moses K. Komoah, Regional Manager of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission at a Training Workshop and Stakeholders Meeting on Natural Resource Advocacy for Civil Society Organizations in Tamale. It was attended by forty participants from the Upper East, Upper West and the Northern Region.
“Wildlife is a source of food and income to rural communities While local conservation mechanisms that protect wildlife such as taboo or totem animals exist, an animal that is not eaten in one community may be eaten in the next community thus undermining their conservation”, Mr Komoah said.
Ghana’s present Legislative Instrument on Wildlife did not take into cognizance the enormous value of wildlife outside the protected areas while inadequate funding to the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission restricts its activities since a significant proportion of its funds is spent on enforcing laws in the protected areas alone.
The Wildlife Division has therefore evolved a new mechanism for the management of wildlife involving communities on the fringes of protected zones.
“The Wildlife Division’s “traditional” form of wildlife management which excludes local communities fringing protected areas from any form of decision making process with respect to wildlife management does not help wildlife conservation since the communities see wildlife as belonging to government who is depriving them of a resource which they consider as theirs”, Mr Komoah said.
The new mechanism, dubbed Community Resource Management Areas (CREMAs), works as a community based organization with an executive structure and a constitution that guides and regulates wildlife activities in that community with the sole aim of promoting the sustainability of wildlife.
This mechanism creates an incentive for farmers by allowing them to benefit from the use of natural resources which in turn encourages them to manage and use these resources sustainably. Communities and land owners are given the right to access and control their natural resources.
This creates a win-win situation where natural resources are given value and communities to manage their resources sustainably thus ensuring their conservation.
Benefits of CREMA include improved livelihoods and human well being, ensures that habitats are secured and endangered species are protected and also strengthens accountability and democratization at the community level. It also promotes the diversification of income generation which strengthens local economies.
Communities where CREMA is operational include Murugu – Mognori , adjacent to Mole National Park, Jillinkon , which is also adjacent to Mole National Park and Zukpiri in the Nadowli District which is along the Black Volta river.

Areas where CREMA is being proposed include Communities on the fringes of the Nazinga Game Reserve in Burkina Faso and the Mole National Park and communities along the Kabore Tampi National Park in Burkina Faso and Gambaga Scarp Forest Reserve.

“CREMA is a land use option which when properly managed will reverse land degradation and bring wealth to rural communities. If the CREMA concept is not implemented the current trend of adverse modification of wildlife habitat will continue and wildlife outside the Protected Areas will gradually disappear. This will lead to increased poaching of wildlife in the Protected Areas and within a short time wildlife in Protected Areas will also disappear and Ghana will lose this important national heritage”, Mr Komoah said.

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