|Categories||Education, Habitats, Reptiles|
|Date||9 Jul 2019|
The Vulnerable African dwarf crocodiles have recently been split into three distinct species (Eaton et al., 2009; Shirley et al., 2014) and an ongoing IUCN threat assessment indicates the West African form (Osteolaemus sp. aff. tetraspis) may warrant Endangered status (M. Shirley, pers. comm.). Despite the recent work dedicated to this species, it is still considered among the least known crocodilians in the world, where even sightings across much of its potential distribution are unrecorded. This lack of basic ecological data is hindering targeted management actions for this species, including management of this species in urban and metropolitan zones – of which it is relatively tolerant. Contextually, the only existing scientific data on dwarf crocodiles in Ghana constitute that of Shirley et al., (2009) who reported the dwarf crocodile to be experiencing severe population decline in Ghana and Kumasi metropolis is among the very few urban areas in Ghana that still harbours this species. Unfortunately, urbanization in the metropolis is rapidly replacing the habitats of the species. It is therefore, evident that urban dwarf crocodile’s long-term persistence is uncertain unless conservation actions are taken.
Hence, the aim of this project is to provide first-hand ecological data and lead in multi-stakeholder dialogues for the development of a targeted conservation and management plan and build local capacity and public awareness through community education. The results of this project will advance the urban management of, not only this species, but crocodiles throughout the region – which are increasingly repopulating urban areas, from Kumasi in Ghana to Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire (M. Shirley, pers. comm.).
This is truly a frontier field, especially in West Africa, where increasingly urban populations rely less on locally harvested wild meat, allowing species to recover in developed areas. The project will adopt diurnal survey method to assess the population, distribution, and habitat threat status of the species. Social (household and market) surveys will be conducted to obtain information on crocodile meat, and the general perception of people on crocodile conservation. Community, public, and school awareness will be created through education campaigns, and stakeholder consultation workshops.
For further information contact: