Championing threatened species conservation

Described as a very shy species and elusive at that, the West African slender-snouted crocodile is classified as critically endangered by IUCN. Endemic to West Africa, the species has been over-whelmed by illegal hunting, human conflict and habitat loss leading to declining populations and a change in its behavior. There have been limited conservation actions designed for the protection of this precious yet overlooked species. This is where TBA alumnus, Emmanuel Amoah from Ghana jumps in.

We first met Emmanuel on a TBA course in Tanzania in 2017.  He had already discovered two significant sub-populations of the West African slender-snouted crocodile which represent hope for protecting this unique species against extinction.

Since his course, Emmanuel has been working towards initiatives for re-introduction programmes of the species in its habitats.  His work was recently rewarded by becoming the first recipient of the 2019 EDGE- Segré Species Survival Award.

“The Segré Species Survival Award is timely as it will enable me to implement urgent conservation actions to protect the species. With this award, I will estimate the population size at both sites, identify and protect critical nesting areas as well as restore degraded areas. Furthermore, I will engage all stakeholders to determine the feasibility of creating a community-based protected area at both sites” Emmanuel adds.

Emmanuel also points out that the award will be essential in channeling his efforts to actively involve local communities through capacity development programmes and awareness campaigns to help mitigate the threats of the species. This is crucial especially as humans pose as a major threat to the species’ existence.

Emmanuel told us that TBA has been a key foundation for his work

“The TBA field coursed I attended in Amani Nature Reserve in 2017 gave me an in-depth understanding of local community management which is now a cornerstone of my conservation career”

One thing I learnt from the TBA field course is that conservation can only be achieved when the livelihood of the people around the resources is given a priority. Thus conservation in itself does not make sense to the rural poor unless it comes with economic incentives. Since that experience, I have remained inspired to implement similar concepts in communities where I work in Ghana to reduce threats and promote long-term conservation of wildlife.