14 Nov 2022
Hylomyscus baeri is a poorly known species of West Africa and is one of the world's least researched small mammals. It is classified as Endangered mainly because of its small area of occupancy (<500km2) and suspected decreasing population across its known ranges (IUCN, 2016). In Ghana, the Bimpong Forest Reserve is the only known location of the species. Bimpong Forest Reserve is a forest reserve in Ghana (Africa) located at an elevation of 134 meters above sea level. Its coordinates at 5°43'0" N and 1°28'0" W (Degrees Minutes Seconds) A Forest reserve is a forested area set aside for preservation or controlled use.
The project is hinged on the following specific objectives:
1. Estimate the population and distribution of the Baer’s Wood Mouse in two forest reserves of southern Ghana (4 months).
2. Identify the major threats and drivers to the Baer's Wood Mouse and its habitat in two forest reserves of southern Ghana (3 months).
3. Launch a conservation education and awareness campaign in selected fringe communities to enhance their understanding of the Baer's Wood Mouse, threats to the forest habitat and the value of biodiversity (4 months).
A reconnaissance survey will be done to establish areas of accessibility and sampling sites will be selected. Sherman collapsible traps (H.B. Sherman Inc 3731 Peddie Drive Tallahassee, FL. 32303 USA), 23cm × 9cm × 7.5cm, baited with a mixture of corn meal, peanut paste and fish oil will be used for live trapping of small mammals and placed 15m apart from each other. GPS coordinates for each trap point will be recorded using a Sightron GPS device. We will then develop and use simple and understandable educational materials such as banners, t-shirts, brochures, PowerPoint presentations and video shows to sensitise urban communities and stimulate their interest in rodent conservation.
Unfortunately, the reserve faces the threats of widespread deforestation resulting from agriculture, and illegal logging. There is a clarion call for the implantation of streamlined conservation management to ensure the future survival of the species and its habitat.