An elephant survey in Digya National Park, Ghana, and implications for conservation and management

Bright B. Kumordzi, William Oduro, Samuel K. Oppong, Emmanuel Danquah, Adrian Lister, Moses K. Sam

Abstract


Information on elephant ranges and numbers is vital for their effective conservation and management. This is especially true in West Africa where elephant populations are small and scattered. Digya National Park in Ghana is home to some of the least studied elephant populations in Africa. A dung count of the Digya elephant population was conducted to determine the density and distribution of elephants in the park using a systematic segmented track line design. The mean density of dung-piles was 323 dung-piles per sq km and mean dung
survival time was estimated to be 44 days (SD = 2.0 days). An estimated 341±53 (95% confidence interval) elephants with density of 0.41 elephants/km2 were obtained in the study. This makes the Digya elephant population the second largest in Ghana. Elephants occurred mainly in the south-western forested part of the park. This may be related to local abundance of wild fruits and/or conflict with squatters in other parts of the park. The possibility of the estimate being higher has been discussed. This current baseline information augments
the Regional Elephant Database and should facilitate strategic planning and management programmes.

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