Oryx

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Oryx (2009), 43:136-145 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2009
doi:10.1017/S0030605309001586

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Conservation status of crocodiles in Ghana and Côte-d'Ivoire, West Africa


Matthew H. Shirleya1 c1, William Oduroa2 and Hilaire Yaokokore Beibroa3

a1 Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, University of Florida, 110 Newins-Ziegler Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-0430, USA.
a2 Department of Wildlife & Range Management, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
a3 Laboratoire de Zoologie et de Biologie Animale, UFR Biosciences, Université de Cocody-Abidjan, Abidjan, Côte-d'Ivoire.
Article author query
shirley mh [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
oduro w [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
beibro hy [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]

Abstract

The population and conservation status of crocodiles throughout West and Central Africa is poorly known and the IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group's highest priority recommendations are country status surveys and examination of potential threats. This study presents survey data and a review of the conservation status of the Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus, slender-snouted crocodile Mecistops cataphractus and African dwarf crocodile Osteolaemus tetraspis at 67 sites throughout Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. No crocodiles were sighted in 31.5% of surveys but, where encountered, densities averaged 0.90 crocodiles sighted km-1. The most frequently encountered crocodile was C. niloticus (94% of sightings) with population structure highly biased to individuals < 1 year of age (41.4%). Only 14 M. cataphractus were observed. Local informants report that crocodiles were more common 10–20 years ago than at present. There is now little commercial harvest, which includes limited use in the bushmeat and traditional medicine markets, because of the crocodile's scarcity. Habitat encroachment and incidental bycatch in fishing devices appear to be the major threats. Actions needed to improve the conservation status of crocodile populations in both countries, and throughout the region, are discussed.

(Received September 05 2007)

(Reviewed November 30 2007)

(Accepted January 08 2008)

KeywordsBushmeat; Côte-d'Ivoire; crocodile; Crocodylus; fishery; Ghana; Mecistops; Osteolaemus

Correspondence:

c1 Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, University of Florida, 110 Newins-Ziegler Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-0430, USA. E-mail [email protected]


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