Survey of corridors, issues and movements of elephants in western Ghana and eastern Cote D’Ivoire

Daryl Bosu

The forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) lives in the equatorial forests of the Central African Basin and West Africa. Elephant populations worldwide have suffered drastic decline, which has largely been attributed to poaching for the ivory and bushmeat trades, desertification and habitat fragmentation, and elephant/human conflicts over land use. The situation in West Africa is no different, as each of these factors has led to the decline and threatened status of forest elephants reducing the evolutionary viability of elephant populations. Currently, elephants in West Africa are fragmented into 56 separate populations, many of which are small and threatened. The long-term viability of these small fragments depends on the exchange of genetic material between the Bia and surrounding Forest Reserves in Ghana and neighbouring populations in Cote d’Ivoire. This project will undertake a feasibility study for a Transfrontier corridor, which will be important for protecting migratory patterns between the two regions and reducing fragmented populations. The field research will gather data on elephant distribution and movement patterns, and will assess local attitudes and land use practices to better understand impacts on the area. Results from this study will help in creating forest habitat management strategies and formulating plans for possible Transfrontier cooperation.