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The Black Volta Project Print E-mail

  • British Petroleum
  • Fauna and Flora International
  • BirdLife International
  • Barclays Bank
  • Royal Geographical Society
  • The Explorers Club, Education & Youth Activities Fund
  • The Albert Reckitt Charitable Trust
  • The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
  • The Anne Helen Layland Fund, Manchester University
  • Aberdeen University Expedition Society
  • Armitages Bros plc
  • Mrs B Green
  • The Duke of Edinburgh Trust
  • The Blakemore Foundation
  • The Ammo Trust
  • Mrs A Garrard
  • Mr D Candy
  • Mr J Fordham
  • Mr D Garrard
  • The John Ray Trust
  • Mr K Bell, Todds Of Lincoln
  • Mrs J Evans, Bed & Bath (UK) Ltd
  • Cascade Designs
  • Metcalf (Leenside) Ltd
  • Bayer PLC
  • Design Mats
  • Focus Development Laboratories/Gleneagles Healthcare
  • Plastok Ltd
  • Nana Antiwi Danquar
  • Zoology Department, Aberdeen University
  • Matt Brock

Between May and August 1997 a team of 41 people carried out construction work and surveys of animals in Bui National Park, Ghana. The Park has been protected since 1971 but no previous work on the diversity of the area had been carried out. The area is under threat from a hydroelectric project that will destroy all riverine habitats within the protected area.

The park contains the largest of only two Hippopotamus amphibius populations left in Ghana. Using number of hippos seen per section of the river suggests a mean density of 2.11 (+/-0.17) hippos per km of river. Extrapolating this for the whole park suggests a total population of 140-164 animals. Actual figure is probably higher and is estimated at 250-350 animals. The hippo is unable to survive in areas outside the National Park. The Nile monitor lizard Varanus niloticus is common within the park. Juvenile monitor lizards are restricted to riverbank habitats whilst older animals are found throughout the area. There were no apparent differences between lizards seen on either riverbank, although adults were more common on the Western bank. Diet of juveniles consists largely of orthopterans, spiders and beetles. Adults eat large quantities of snails. A survey of dragonflies conducted at several sites in Ghana recorded 71 species. With 25 new species records, the known dragonfly fauna for the country is increased by 27% to 118 species. These new species records included 12 new genera for Ghana. This brings the number of Odonata genera from 44 to 56, an increase of over 27%. Forty six species of fish from 17 families were recorded from the Black Volta River. All are of economic importance. Four fishermen caught an average of 10.75 fish each day with a mean biomass of 3216g per day. A Momyrid fish, probably Gnathonemus petersi is reported to have disappeared from the river in recent years. A survey of the rodents at Bui found 204 specimens of 23 species at six sites. There were differences in species composition between areas of grassland and riverine forest. The lack of a reliable key to rodents of West Africa imposes severe limitations on field work. 133 fruit bats of nine species and 14 insect bats of five species were caught at Bui and Shai Hills Reserve. Bui had higher diversity of fruitbats but both areas contain important populations that require further study. Highest diversity of bats overall was along the Black Volta River. Reptiles found at Bui included Nile crocodiles, rock pythons and cat snakes. The park may also contain populations of slender snouted and dwarf crocodile. 47 species of butterflies were recorded from Bui, including 13 forest species and 43 species of birds. Basic knowledge about the vegetation was needed for our faunal survey of the Park. Systematic sampling of the trees was carried out on the various study plots. The grass cover, considered as a vital component of the rodent habitat, was measured where Sherman traps had been placed. The results show that there is a high variability in the relative abundance of species and the absolute number of tree species per plot (shown by the species diversity index) and very much so in the species composition of the various study plots. Variations in the grass cover are not so striking however.



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Savannah Monitor Book


Our pet-owners' guide to savannah monitor lizard is the first ever written by people who have studied the animals in the wild and bred them in captivity. There are at least seven books in print about the savannah monitor, but we think this is the only one worth reading! Last few available 










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The Butaan Project
Monitoring Individuals 2
butaan4.jpgWe tape spool and line devices to butaan that have been caught and release them at the exact point of capture as soon as possible. Spool and line data gives us a detailed account of the animals' movementes for a few hours, days or weeks after release.  We have also used spool and line very effectively on other animals, including the endemic Polillo forest snail Helicostyla portei


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