Monitoring and Conserving the Pel’s Flying Squirrel in Ghana

More than 10% of the overall species (134,425) assessed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species are listed as Data Deficient. These species are rarely included in conservation planning and legislation due to their uncertain extinction risk. Nevertheless, they are often among those most likely to actually be endangered. This project targets the Pel’s Flying Squirrel (Anomalurus pelii) for the implementation of conservation actions towards species monitoring, protection and management of important habitats, and community engagement and environmental education in Ghana.
Anomalurus pelii is the largest of scaly-tailed squirrels restricted to a relatively small area in West Africa (from Ghana to eastern Liberia). This species is classified as Data Deficient by the IUCN due to inadequate information on its distribution and population status to assess its extinction risk. Our work, in cooperation with local and international partners, involves: using GIS and Remote Sensing tools to model effects of land use change on the species’ range-wide distribution and identify priority habitats for conservation; building the capacity and understanding of local people in research and conservation needs of the species; and developing a revised strategy to institute a long-term plan for protecting and managing the species critical habitats.
This project is supported by the Rufford Foundation
Mobilizing Stakeholder Support to Conserve Threatened Whiprays in Ghana
This project focuses on the Daisy Whipray (Fontitrygon margarita) in the coastal zone of Ghana. Fontitrygon margarita is from West African marine and brackish waters, including lagoons and estuaries. This species is exceptionally vulnerable since it has a very slow growth rate and low fecundity. This project involves strengthening traditional management and conservation for the species through collaborative research, capacity building and engagement of key stakeholders to lay a strong foundation for the conservation of the species in Ghana. That is identifying and monitoring Fontitrygon margarita in catches and clarifying the extent of threats, and developing effective conservation actions for its persistence.
This project is supported by the Mohammed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, British Ecological Society and IdeaWild.
Mitigating Bat Zoonoses Threats in Ghana
In Ghana, the hunting of bats for food is known to be a main source of human-bat interaction. This behaviour poses serious threats to biodiversity and public health. Bats are considered keystone species in almost all ecosystems where they are present. For example, the Madagascan flying fox Pteropus rufus helps in the maintenance and regeneration of forests in one of the world’s priority conservation areas. Furthermore, bats are natural reservoirs of several zoonotic pathogens that causes fatal diseases to humans. For instance, E. helvum which is widely eaten in Ghana, host zoonotic pathogens including paramyxoviruses and Ebola virus. Unquestionably, strategies to monitor batmeat exploitation and potential zoonoses occurrence remains a high priority in Ghana. The focus of our work encompasses understanding the process for zoonotic transmission from bats to humans and the complex history and impacts of policy, legislation and institutional reforms to contribute to the design of systems-oriented responses that combat hunting of bats and prevent pandemics.

This project has been supported by the Rufford Foundation and British Ecological Society
Tackling hunting and International Trade of the Critically Endangered Home’s Hinge-back Tortoise
The Home’s Hinge-back tortoise (Kinixys homeana) is currently listed on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered. In addition, the species is listed under Appendix II by CITES, which suggests prohibition in their hunting during certain periods of the year. However, bushmeat hunting which is widespread is taking a toll on the species and represents a serious source of threat to its survival. Generally, the species is hunted for subsistence and also sold on bushmeat and fetish markets (for traditional ‘juju’ medicine). The species has also been recorded in traditional medicine markets in China and Hong Kong, therefore making international trade potential significant threat on local population. We are working to gather all-inclusive ecological and ethnozoology data on Kinixys homeana and use the findings to develop locally centred conservation actions to protect the species from hunting and identify potential pathways for spread of zoonotic pathogens. 
This project is supported by IdeaWild
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