Status and Conservation of Mecistops cataphractus in the Obuasi Municipality II

Akwasi Anokye


Other projects

26 Mar 2018

Status and Conservation of Mecistops cataphractus in the Obuasi Municipality I

The Jimi River in the Obuasi Municipality is among the few unprotected habitats in West Africa in that still harbours significant numbers of the Critically Endangered West African slender-snouted crocodiles (Mecistops cataphractus). Unfortunately, the population here is threatened by habitat destruction, hunting for food, and conflicts with fish farmers. As part of efforts to conserve the already threatened Mecistops cataphractus populations in the Obuasi Municipality, our team through the first phase of this project conducted population surveys, outreach programmes as well as local capacity building. This second phase seeks to extend these conservation efforts to other surrounding communities that were not reached during the first phase whiles revisiting communities that were covered in the first phase. The Ultimate goal of this project is to reduce immediate threats of the species while building long-term conservation legacy in the Municipality.

A subadult West African slender-snouted crocodile spotted in the Jimi River during night survey.

A subadult West African slender-snouted crocodile spotted in the Jimi River during night survey.

Mecistops cataphractus populations continue to experience rapid decline particularly in unprotected areas due to anthropogenic-related threats. The Jimi river in the Obuasi Municipality is among the few unprotected areas that still harbours significant populations of the species. Unfortunately, the population here is threatened by habitat destruction, human-crocodile-conflicts, and hunting.

With our first Rufford grant, we initiated conservation interventions which included population surveys, awareness campaigns, and demonstration crocodile exclusion fences to prevent the species from entering fishponds in three of the fringe communities. We further created a community volunteer group to provide a timely response in case of emergencies such as crocodiles entering human residence or fishponds as well as continuous education of locals. Post project monitoring activities showed an increase in local knowledge, no incident of retaliatory killings by fish farmers as well as improved interest in M. cataphractus conservation in the three communities.

For the second phase of the project, we will extend our survey and conservation interventions to cover the other stretch of the river and four new communities while revisiting areas covered in the first phase of the project. The Ultimate goal of this project is to reduce immediate threats of the species while building long-term conservation legacy in the Municipality.

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