Mole National Park is the largest wildlife reserve in Ghana. The park is located in the Savannah region of Ghana on the savannah and riverine ecosystem at an elevation of 50m, with a steep cliff forming the southern boundary of the park. The entrance to the park is via the nearby town of Larabanga. The Levi and Mole rivers are ephemeral rivers that flow through the park, leaving only waterholes during the long spy season. This area of Ghana receives more than 10mm of rainfall annually. A long-term study was conducted in Mole National Park to understand the impact of human hunters on the animals in the reserve.
The park’s grounds were set aside as a wildlife refuge in 1958. In 1971, the small population in the area was relocated and the land was designated a national park. The park has not had any major development as a tourist destination since its initial designation. The park is a protected area in short supply and national and international concerns exist about poaching and sustainability in the park but protecting the important resident antelope species it has improved since its initial establishment as a reserve. The park is an important research area for scientists because of the displacement of populations from within the park, allowing long-term studies, especially at relatively undisturbed sites compared to other areas. with similar areas in densely populated equatorial West Africa. For example, a survey of the resident population of 800 elephants showed that elephant damage to large trees varies by species. In moles, elephants are more likely to seriously injure economically important species such as Burkea Africana, an important tropical hardwood, and Butyrospermum paradox, a source of shea butter, than Terminalia spp.
Recently, longan flower honey from the Mole National Forest has become the region’s first fair trade product. Nearby, villagers harvest honey using traditional, non-invasive methods and have partnered with a Utah-based company to sell honey as a health and wellness supplement in the United States. . The program was co-founded by Ashanti Chief Nana Kwasi Agyemang, who hopes to revive local interest in honey and eventually export it to other countries in Africa. Tree species in the park include Burkea Africana, Isoberlinia Doka and Terminalia macroptera. Savannah grass is somewhat unfavourable, but known species include spiny, Kyllinga echinata, Aneilema, Aneilema setiferum var. pallidiciliatum and two endemic members of the subfamily Asclepiadaceae, the vine Gongronema obscurum and the biogeographic plant Raphionacme vignei.
Mole National Park, like other game reserves in Ghana, receives little funding for poaching prevention. However, the wildlife in the park is protected by professional rangers, and poachers pose a real risk of capture. Poachers usually live within 50 kilometres of the park’s boundaries. This distance of 50 km is the largest reported distance that hunters are willing to travel with poaching. The park’s remaining human populations were removed in 1961, leaving all game hunters outside the reserve, meaning that the mammal populations around the park were impacted by hunting more than the population in the interior.
After renovating the roads leading to the park, the number of visitors to the park increased from 14,600 in 2014 to 17,800 in 2015. Depending on the year, 20 to 40% of visitors are foreigners. Farouk Umaru Dubiure, park manager, said, “Even though we get a lot of visitors, the money generated is very low as 70% of the visitors are Ghanaian students who pay very little to go to the park. visit the park. These students also visited the park on the same day and returned, compared with foreigners who spent more days seeing the park well.
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