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Small mammal community composition and species diversity in the Shai Hills Resource reserve, Ghana

B. Y. Ofori
H. S. Addom
D. K. Attuquayefio


Biodiversity monitoring and assessment are essential for establishing population trends and status, and the causes of declines in abundance and occupancy within protected areas. However, biodiversity monitoring and assessment are rarely done in developing countries because of funding and other logistic constraints. This study assessed the small mammal (rodents and shrews ≤ 200 g) species composition and diversity in the Shai Hills Resource reserve with the aim of establishing baseline data for regular monitoring. The small mammals were live-trapped using Sherman and Pitfall traps. A trapping effort of 1,080 Sherman trap-nights and 360 Pitfall trap-nights yielded 36 individuals belonging to two orders (Rodentia and Eulipotyphla) and nine species. Five new species, including two shrews Crocidura olivieri and C. crossei, and three rodents Mus muscules, Mastomys natalensis and Arvicanthis rufinus were added to the known small mammal species in the reserve. Uranomys ruddi was the most abundant species. All the species that were captured are listed as ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and are under no form of protection nationally. The results of this study provide crucial baseline data to the park managers to monitor the population dynamics and changes in the community composition of small mammal in the SHRR and evaluate the impact of management actions on the small mammal biodiversity in the reserve. This can improve their understanding of conservation needs and guide the development of effective habitat management strategy.