|Town/Region||Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary|
|Date||24 Sep 2020|
Only two viable populations of Hippos occur in Ghana, at the Bui National Park (BNP) and Wechaiu Community Hippo Sanctuary (WCHS), along the Black Volta River. Our first RSG-funded project focused on the population at the BNP and found significant decrease in the Hippo population due to the construction of Hydro-electric dam and increasing fishing activities on the species habitat. This second phase of the project aims to assess the current population of Hippos at WCHS and other gallery forests where Hippos persist along the Black Volta. This is to enable us to have a more nationalistic perspective of Hippos in Ghana, and to design the necessary Conservation actions. Hippo populations in Ghana are at the highest risks level due to fragmented distribution, unregulated hunting and high frequency of Human-hippo conflicts (Lewison & Pluháček, 2017).
The need for direct conservation action to protect Hippos have been identified as priority by IUCN. However, baseline information required to make concrete actionable decisions for Hippo conservation and management are woefully inadequate. This project will undertake population and distribution census, threats analysis, targeted conservation education and behaviour change. Ecological data collection will follow protocols employed by Bennett et al. (2000). The riverbank total foot count method will be used to survey for Hippos at the WCHS. Semi-structured interviews will be used to administer questionnaires randomly to local communities to solicit socio ecological data on Hippos within the community. We will undertake conservation education campaigns within the communities, religious based institutions and schools to improve conservation awareness on the species and change behaviours towards Hippos conservation. Also, this project will pilot “sofa safari” an innovative virtual wildlife experiences for tourist in order to improve revenues of the Sanctuary especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read about Ransford's previous project https://www.rufford.org/projects/ransford_agyei or for more information contact: