For strategic management purposes, wildlife reserves have been established accross all the ecological zones of the country. The information below provides the categories of wildlife reserves and the relevant actions required to protect them.
Ghana is home to a large variety of wild animals and plants including endemic, threatened and vulnerable species. Major threats to wildlife in Ghana include the conversion of forestlands into other land use forms such as crop farming, pastures, mining, infrastructural development and bush fires. Habitat destruction and over-exploitation of wildlife for subsistence or gain are two main causes of wildlife loss.
Currently, there are sixteen (16) legally constituted wildlife reserves covering about 6.2% of the total surface land area. These are categorized into:
- Strict Nature reserves (1)
- National Parks (6)
- Wildlife Sanctuaries (2)
- Resources reserves (60
- Biosphere reserves (1)
- Coastal Ramsar Sites (5)
The reserves spread from the coastal savanna through the forest and transition vegetation types to the northern savannas. Currently, there is a problem of under-representation of a number of habitats including inland wetlands, mangrove forests, peat swamps and freshwater swamps. While terrestrial wildlife reserves are relatively better managed, a number of coastal wetlands are severely polluted to the extent that biological life is highly threatened. The Chemu and Korle lagoons represent near lifeless water systems whose biological composition is currently questionable. In addition, there are six (6) wetlands which have been declared as Ramsar sites.
- expand protection area system by including the marine habitats, inland and coastal wetlands, gallery and riverine forests, and water impoundments;
- inventorize existing wildlife reserves using modern technologies, such as remote sensing, Geographical Information Systems;
- Compile and publish existing biodiversity and related information on wildlife protected areas and forest reserves for easy reference.
- Enforce compliance of regulations, standards, guidelines on entry into protected areas.
- build capacities at the tertiary education level in wildlife resource management and emphasize training in eco-system management;
- build the capacity of traditional authorities, District Assemblies and other local structures in the management of wildlife resources;
- review and update the wildlife conservation regulation and ensure compliance of such laws;
- seek collaboration with both local and external institutions on various management issues;
- restrict exploitation and export of wild animals and plants by fixing quotas and sustainable removal figures;
- promote communal management of wildlife resources through the CREMA concept;
- protect wild animals by creating corridors for movement and migration.