Decline of Ghana’s zoos due to depleting wildlife reserves
Land degradation has destroyed a wide range of wildlife habitats over decades. The clearances of land through the destruction of fertile soils and removal of trees in cultivated areas have reduced available food and shelter for breeding habitats. Which for decades supplied zoos in Ghana with a variety of endangered animals. The degradation of forest lands and the loss of biodiversity in Ghana have risen rapidly in recent times due to human causes.
|Keywords||Ghana's zoo, wildlife, reserve|
Ghana has stood as one of Africa’s major centers for wildlife reserves through its rich vegetation. Proudly depicted by a symbol of the green color in the country’s national flag, the nation boasts of torrential rain forests which are home to terrestrial biodiversity including thick forests, greenery to dry savannah areas, magnificent waterfalls and lakes.
Tropical climate and landscape systems sustain a wide variety of endangered species, ranging from elephants, leopards, hyenas, wild cats, antelopes, peacocks, bush pigs, monkeys, porcupines, marine turtles, rare birds, butterflies, deer and many more that once filled our zoos and other recreational wildlife reserves.
Some of Ghana’s wildlife reserves include, Achimota Ecological Park, Mole Park, Nini-Suhien Park, Ankasa reserve, Shai Hills among others. As essential as these forest reserves are to both the environmental and economic development of Ghana, many of the reserves in Ghana are under a rapid rate of depletion through constant land degradation practices such as poor agricultural carry outs, mining, deforestation and industrialization.
The threats and menace land degradation pose have translated negatively into the eco-tourism sector and operations within the country. The primary attraction which is the zoos has seen a great decline with regards to patronage in the past few years. Due to the cause that wildlife reserves that used to be the main producer of varied endangered species for the zoos are almost in extinct as a result of land degradation and its various types.
As such, revenues that were once generated from zoos have seen an enormous drop in the past few years. Ghana’s inability to enhance further socio-economic development of its people through its rich jungle resource is rather problematic and unreflective of the pride in vegetation the country relishes.
While 60% of the Ghana’s population lives off the agricultural sector, the lost in patronage of zoos has led to an increased rate in unemployment in the country’s eco-tourist venues. Many of the nation’s zoos have either been closed down or merely reduced to animal reserves due to extinct of these animal species and also to make way for building constructions for human settlement.
In 2005, the site of the then Accra zoo was demolished to make way for the construction of the current seat of government. One would reason if that would have been possible had the zoo operated effectively being stocked with a variety of wildlife animals.
Unfortunately taxation that was once catered for through zoo operations had to come to a halt, resulting in the loss of jobs those zoo employees had.
Besides, the zoo that also once served as a good educational resource for students who periodically visited the site is no more. This has deprived modern students of practical and feasible research materials for various school projects. For a nation that encourages more students to move into the agricultural and farming sector, it is rather unacceptable that mechanisms that are to enhance such aspirations are not in place for effective studies making practical knowledge acquisition nearly unrealistic.
In a research conducted by Ghana Forestry commission it is estimated that forest within vegetative zones of Ghana contains 90% of the carbon that is released when forests are cleared. Most of the forests have lost their original interior habitats that are critical for the protection of vulnerable species.
The practices of land degradation have taken a toll on major forestry lands of productivity in the country. Usually, biodiversity that are often destroyed in most forest areas to allow space for human settlements and other commercial dealings create all forms of inconveniences for wildlife animals. These animals are often forced to other locations that are not conducive for survival leading to death while in the process of migration.
In addition, Greentumble a renowned organization that focus on environmental awareness and conservative activities conducted a research and also found out that the forest store a large amount of the world’s carbon dioxide. Land degradation contributes 25% of global conservatory emissions. When the forest is destroyed, the carbon that was stored gets released into the atmosphere. These climatic changes can have many negative impacts, not only on local wildlife populations, but also around the world as global climate change alters the habitat they depend on.
Current statistic reveal that since 2000, Ghana has lost 50% of its forest reserve and is experiencing at a startling percentage of 2 a rate of land degradation practices annually. These figures reveal that in the long run Ghana is estimated to totally deplete its forest and wildlife reserve by 2040.
Therefore it now behooves on government to view matters of Ghana’s forestry and wildlife space in high regard and as a matter of topmost priority. To curtail the practices of all forms of land degradation, effective measures must be put in place by government in both restoring and preserving Ghana’s already depleting wildlife reserve.
As well as working hand in hand with the forestry commission, policy makers should be involved in the granting of accredited license to registered firms who wish to use forest resources as raw materials for the legal production of goods.
There must also be a continuous campaign in educating citizens, firms as well as students on the hazards of deforestation and the negative impact on socio-economic growth on a developing nation as Ghana. Frequent workshops ought to be organized for local farmers and miners of forest reserve areas in the country on the importance of afforestation practices in salvaging Ghana’s rich forestry reserve.