Illegal wildlife use and protected area management in Ghana
SNV-Ghana, Mankata Close 6, Airport Residential, P.O. Box 30284, KIA Accra, Ghana Bergstraat 77, 6174 RP Sweikhuizen, The Netherlands
A R T I C L E I N F O
Received 13 March 2008Received in revised form16 May 2008Accepted 17 May 2008Available online 2 July 2008
Law enforcementPoaching ElephantsResource allocationStaff performanceWildlife managementHabitatA B S T R A C TStarting in 2004, a system to monitor patrol staff performance, illegal wildlife use andtrends in large-mammal populations was established in nine protected areas in Ghana.The main objectives were to use monitoring feedback as the foundation for informed deci-sions to aid adaptive and performance management, and to identify the most importantfactors contributing to wildlife conservation. The competitive management systemresulted in a doubling of patrol performance. As a result, in the six savannah sites, poach-ing was reduced to acceptable levels by the end of 2007, but in the three forest sites, poach-ing remained high. To reverse poaching trends in the forest required a conventional patroleffort that was 10 times higher than that in the savannah.The relationship between the amount of illegal activity with the operational budget, seniorstaff performance, encounter rates with large mammals, human population densities andhabitat, was investigated for 2005–2007. With three predictor variables, the modelexplained 63% of the variation in the encounter rates with illegal activity. Increasing human population densities gavehigher levels of poaching. Increasing frequencies of campvisits by senior ofﬁcers and increasing operational budgets gave lower levels of poaching.In the second model, elephant poaching was used as the response variable and relative ele-phant density as an additional predictor variable. One predictor variable – that is elephantdensity – explained 38% of the total variation in elephant poaching. Elephant density incor-porated the effects of camp visit frequencies, human densities, and habitat. Commercialtrophy hunting for ivory, as opposed to subsistence hunting, was more sensitive to the den-sity of the target species and efforts to curtail the activity. Subsistence hunting was propor-tional to human densities, with mainly members of nearby communities involved, whileelephant poaching was not, mainly involving specialised hunters from towns further away.
2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
In Ghana, the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commissionhas direct management responsibility for 16 protected areas,which includes threecoastal wetlands, totalling 12,585 km
or5.5% of the country. Legislation caters for the protection of allwildlife, both in and outside of protected areas, but resourceconstraints greatly limit the ability to implement conserva-tion legislation. Prevailing ecological and above all economicconditions (Skonhoft and Solstad, 1998) determine that vol-untary compliance with conservation legislation does not oc-cur, and that the protection of wildlife requires effective andoften expensive enforcement mechanisms ( Jachmann, 1998;Rowcliffe et al., 2004). For the majority of protected areas inGhana, budgetary allocations were too low to provide ade-quate protection for their gradually declining wildlife popula-tions ( Jachmann,2008). Because mostof the budget is usedforlaw-enforcement operations, it is important that law enforce-
0006-3207/$ - see front matter
B I O L O G I C A L C O N S E RVAT I O N
141 (2008) 1906
available at www.sciencedirect.comjournal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/biocon