Protecting African wildlife: IBCP collaborator Samuel Awini advances research in Ghana
Updated: Mar 21, 2021
20 March, 2021
African Bush Elephant in Mole National Park, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Samuel Awini.
Africa’s magnificent wildlife is admired all over the world, and conserving these species for future generations is a key challenge for protected area managers with limited resources. Poaching (illegal hunting) is a major threat to wildlife throughout Africa, even in national parks, so a critical conservation challenge for park managers is deciding where best to focus ranger patrols to deter poachers. To this end, IBCP is delighted to support the work of Samuel Awini in Mole National Park, Ghana, where he is an Assistant Wildlife Officer. A graduate in Biodiversity Conservation and Management at Ghana’s University for Development Studies, Samuel has been investigating mammal habitat use for over a year in an ongoing study using camera traps provided by IBCP to gain insights into the distribution and abundance of mammals within the park to inform decision making for law enforcement. The results are expected to benefit not only mammals but other wildlife within the park, including migratory birds, critically endangered vultures, and other species that benefit from active conservation.
Samuel Awini setting a camera trap at Mole National Park with IBCP team members and park rangers. Photo by Grzegorz Walczak.
As with many other protected areas, Mole National Park historically contained permanent settlements that were evacuated to create the park. Protecting wildlife within the park is achieved not only through ranger patrols and law enforcement but also by working with surrounding communities to mitigate wildlife damage, for example to farms and livestock, and compensate residents for damage that occurs. Samuel thus works with communities located at the periphery of the park to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, maintain sustainable livelihoods, and support conservation. To support these efforts, IBCP has created mammal and bird brochures for Mole National Park to assist locals and visitors in identifying its impressive wildlife, whose ongoing protection is a tribute to the successful efforts of the Ghana Forestry Commission, Wildlife Division, and its hard-working rangers. Samuel’s work has resulted in stunning photographs of elephants, hyenas, roan antelopes, leopards, hartebeests, and other amazing animals that continue to draw wildlife enthusiasts to Africa from all over the world.
Spotted Hyena in Ghana’s Mole National Park. Photo courtesy of Samuel Awini.