|Town/Region||Ankasa Conservation Area|
|Date||11 Feb 2015|
The West African slender-snouted crocodile (Mecistops cataphractus) is listed as Critically Endangered (IUCN, 2014) and is in extreme danger of extinction locally in Ghana (Shirley et al. 2009). Unfortunately, in West Africa, it is expected to undergo complete extirpation if serious intervention plans are not adopted in terms of protected area management and reintroductions (Shirley, 2013). Critical population still face threats of extinction in Ghana as a result of habitat depletion and encroachment, hunting and bush meat trade. The geographical range of this emblematic crocodile has been extremely reduced. To date, the most extensive crocodile survey activities conducted in selected protected and unprotected areas recorded only a single hatchling in southern Ghana (Shirley et al, 2009). The Ankasa Conservation Area (ACA), the proposed study area, is one of the few places in Ghana which offer survival hopes for the crocodile. Unfortunately, it is ranked on top as the most encroached protected area in Ghana (UICN/PACO, 2010).
This project is motivated by the need to investigate baseline information for current population size, identify potential and existing threats that affect their survival and also intensify collaboration, conservation education and capacity building among local communities and stakeholders for crocodile and habitat protection.
The education and outreach campaigns will offer a ripple action about the need to also conserve other threatened and endangered flora and fauna. As a crocodile conservation project, one of our major contributions will be to manage and mitigate the perception and reputation that crocodiles have as being dangerous. This is an obstacle impeding their conservation.
At the end of the project, we hope to achieve a vibrant and dedicated local communities and stakeholders who are interested in crocodilians and biodiversity conservation in general. Our ability to influence behavioral change towards nature conservation will provide ways to understand current and future trends towards extinction, and also strengthen collaborative efforts towards managing the Ankasa Conservation Area as a whole. Our findings will be communicated through reports and articles in peer-review journals such as Oryx. We will also produce a documentary that will be made available on youtube and other social media platforms. Again we will also aspire to present our findings at some major international conferences to aid in global publicity about the Slender-snouted crocodile and the ACA which serve as a habitat for other endangered flora and fauna.
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