The Mole National Park in the Savannah Region has benefitted from a €600,000 grant from the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat.
The grant, which is to be disbursed over a period of three years, is to fund a project entitled ‘Protecting the Priority Population of elephant and other target species in Mole National Park-Ghana’.
This will enable enhanced law enforcement on the park, through the training and resourcing of park rangers to include a 4×4 vehicle, fuel, communication system and field gear among others.
The project will also support the rehabilitation of existing outposts and construction of new sub-range outposts with ancillary facilities in poaching hotspots, to ensure the effective protection and maintenance of park security and integrity.
It is expected that the development will result in more tourist visits to the park, which will enable management to generate revenue for maintenance of the park, as well as government benefitting from the revenue generated for other developmental projects.
The Manager of Mole National Park, Ali Mahama, in an interview with the B&FT said the agreement for implementation was entered into by the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission and the MIKE Secretariat in July 2021, and implementation has since commenced.
He stated that the funding has helped with reactivation of the defunct Wildlife Division Mobile Training Unit (MTU) – involving nine trainer-of-trainers through refresher courses in First Aid, life-saving, leadership and team-building, conflict management, animal behaviour and problem-animal control, among others.
“It will also involve specialised training for 17 Law Enforcement Managers in SMART and Geographic Information Systems, Surveillance/Intelligence gathering and Investigations and Court procedures,” he noted.
Mr. Mahama added that there will be provision of food rations and other patrol inputs for field rangers to support extended patrols and special operations.
“We will as well engage in repair, servicing and operational maintenance of five vehicles and two tractors to facilitate deployment of rangers, distribution of food rations to the range camps, transportation of materials as well as rehabilitation, repair and cleaning of law enforcement deployment tracks, roads, and the park boundary,” he said.
He further stated that the support will help with rehabilitation and maintenance work at the Jang range outpost made up of masonry, carpentry, plumbing, electrical and painting work.
The Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme is an international collaboration that assesses and documents levels, trends and causes of elephant mortality to facilitate decision-making that affects the conservation of elephants across range states in Africa and Asia.
The MIKE Programme was established by the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1997. The MIKE Programme is entirely dependent on donor support, with the European Union (EU) being the most important donor for the programme. The EU funded the implementation since its inception in 2001 for Africa and 2017 for Asia.
In Ghana, the Mole National Park is one of two active MIKE sites. The Park is approximately 4,577 sq. km in size and holds the largest and most viable population of savannah elephants in the country.