Mitigating Human-Crocodile Conflicts; A Bottom-Up Approach In The Obuasi Municipality, Ghana.

Crocodile populations in Ghana continue to experience rapid decline, particularly the critically endangered West African Slender-snouted Crocodile (Mecistops cataphractus). This can be attributed to anthropogenic pressures which result in habitat loss and hunting pressure. The situation is aggravated by negative perceptions held by most Ghanaians about crocodiles as destructive and dangerous. Obuasi is drained by the Jimi River, which harbors West African Slender-snouted Crocodile. Unfortunately, this is not a protected area hence crocodile population in this area are exposed to various threats including hunting, habitat destruction and human-crocodile conflicts. This project aims to determine West African Slender-snouted Crocodile population, distribution, and habitat threats whiles assessing the risk of their invasions on fish farms. This study will also focus on raising conservation awareness whiles devising effective mitigation measures for human-crocodile conflicts. West African Slender-snouted Crocodile populations will be determined using diurnal and nocturnal spotlight surveys methods (Webb & Smith, 1987) to search for crocodiles. GPS Coordinates of crocodile locations will be used to determine the extent of their distribution. We will also raise awareness about the species and its habitat through presentations, focal group discussions, stakeholder workshops as well as promotional materials such as billboards, t-shirts and flyers. Local media will also be used to facilitate awareness in these communities. This project is supported with funding from Riverbanks Zoo & Garden and International Herpetological Symposium.