Hunting Intensity in the Suhuma Forest Reserve in the Sefwi Wiawso District of the Western Region of Ghana: A Threat to Biodiversity Conservation
Hunting intensity in the Suhuma Forest Reserve (SFR) in the Sefwi Wiawso District of the Western Region of Ghana has been investigated. The methodology involved the recording of signs of hunting activity using linetransects, and interviews with hunters. A total of 157 spent cartridges, 21 wire snares, presence of 17 hunters, four hunting camps, and two gunshots were recorded over a total of 14 km of transects walked. Ten species of mammals were hunted, notably the brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus africanus), Pel’s flying squirrel (Anomalurus peli), long-tailed pangolin (Uromanis tetradactyla), giant rat (Cricetomys gambianus), Maxwell’s duiker (Cephalophus maxwelli), bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), bay duiker (Cephalophus dorsalis), royal antelope (Neotragus pygmaeus), western tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax dorsalis), and grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianus). Wire snares and shotguns were the two main hunting methods employed, the former being used by all, and the latter by 34% of the hunters interviewed. Between 60 and 200 wire traps were set by each hunter. The results indicated a high hunting intensity in the Suhuma Forest Reserve. Some corrective measures have been recommended to ameliorate the problem. These measures include the initiation of public education and awareness programmes, establishment of task forces to check bushmeat hunting, execution of stricter law enforcement, and more punitive sanctions for offenders.