18 Oct 2023
Urban Ecology and Conservation of the West African Dwarf Crocodile in the Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana
Promoting Urban Protection of the Vulnerable West African Dwarf Crocodile through Grassroots Approach in Ghana
Urban ecology is of global importance as it contributes tremendously to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 15 (UN 2018). The West African dwarf crocodile (WADC) (Osteolaemus sp. nov. cf. tetraspis) which is relatively adaptable to urban environments in Ghanaian cities is a useful indicator species and its urban protection will help achieve the global goal of sustainable cities and biodiversity management. Unfortunately, Ghana up to date has no crocodile management action plans, and this together with the lack of ecological data impedes efforts to develop effective interventions and models to support crocodile conservation in Ghana, particularly the threatened urban ranges. WADC is categorized as Vulnerable by IUCN. It certainly now faces a higher risk of extinction due to a lack of awareness, continued overexploitation, and habitat destruction.
To fill the existing data gap and the poor public awareness of the species in urban settings, our team through the Rufford phases 1 and 2 has since 2019 been conducting extensive surveys and assessments of the habitats of the Vulnerable West African dwarf crocodile to identify potential hotspots in the urban centers of Ghana. Upon Identifying the KNUST Campus as the potential hotspot and urban refuge for the species, we have extensively built a database of the threats and population status of the species from 2019 to 2022. Given the high level of threats recorded, the future sustainability of this potential hotspot is uncertain and thus requires urgent local action. The main focus of the 1st booster is therefore to further collaborate with the stakeholders, particularly the local communities, for developing and deploying the best-fit threat management strategies for the species and the entire habitat.
Header: Sub-adult West African dwarf crocodile.