Happy World Wildlife Day!
Updated: Jun 13, 2020
IBCP is celebrating through a new collaboration with Ghana´s University for Development Studies (UDS) and Ghana Wildlife Division (GWD) in Mole National Park. On February 28th, we delivered a presentation at UDS entitled “Treasures more precious than gold: Ghana´s birds as indicators of biodiversity and environmental health”. We are grateful for an extraordinarily warm reception from the faculty and students and look forward to productive collaborations for wildlife research and conservation. Sandra Goded is now leading surveys with the IBCP team for vultures, other raptors, and Afro-Palearctic migrants in Ghana´s savanna ecosystems, both in Mole National Park and around the nearby urban centre of Tamale, in partnership with GWD and UDS. Nathaniel Annorbah has provided crucial help in the surveys and all logistics for the project.
People from L to R are Nathaniel Annorbah, Nico Arcilla, Grzegorz Walczak, Zebigou Kolani, Samuel Boakye Yiadom, Robert Wrǿblewski and Sandra Goded.
Why focus on vultures? Vultures provide crucial ecosystem services as scavengers, reducing waste in the environment and reducing the prevalence of diseases. Unfortunately, vultures are severely declining globally, with 69% of all vulture and condor species listed as threatened or near-threatened by the IUCN. Seven of Africa’s 10 species of vultures have exhibited population declines averaging 80% in recent decades, making vultures among the most threatened taxa in Africa today. Major threats to vultures in include habitat loss, loss of food resources, and persecution in West Africa, poisoning, poaching for traditional medicines, and collisions with power lines and wind turbines across the continent. However, vulture population dynamics remain poorly understood in tropical Africa.
With this project, we will produce a comprehensive report detailing the abundance and distribution of vulture and other raptor species of vultures at Mole National Park and its environs. In addition, although Afro-Palearctic migratory birds are also decreasing, the reasons for their declines remain elusive. Most research trying to identify the reasons has focused on the breeding grounds, whereas the effects of land-use and climate changes at stopover and wintering grounds remain understudied. With these surveys we are will test whether protected areas in West Africa harbor richer and more abundant populations of Afro-Palearctic migratory bird species, as they are known to do for raptors, including vultures.
Together with Robert Wrǿblewski, talented photographer Grzegorz Walczak helped make our Mole 2020 expedition possible by generously contributing their vacation time, to drive us to and around Mole to survey birds. Greg has also been document birds and other wildlife with magnificent photos that will contribute to making educational posters, brochures, and calendars for Mole National Park. Our Togolese collaborator, Kolani Zebigou, and Ghanaian research assistant, Samuel Boakye Yiadom, have provided crucial support. Throughout this expedition we have worked with Ghana Wildlife Division rangers, Albert Chongu and Seidu Dunaba, who have been crucial to the development of the project and have served as both guides and assistants. We are very thankful to them. In addition to our bird surveys, IBCP is supporting UDS research through providing camera traps to UDS´ Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment for wildlife research in Mole National Park. We look forward to seeing some of the results in the coming months!
People from L to R are Ghana Wildlife Division Officer Obed, Samuel Boakye Yiadom, Grzegorz Walczak, Zebigou Kolani, Nico Arcilla, GWD Officer Seidu Dunaba and Sandra Goded.