30 May 2007. Ghana’s Ambassador to Germany,
H.E. Grant Ohemeng Kesse (photo: right), signed the Memorandum
of Understanding concerning Conservation Measures for
the West African Populations of the African Elephant on
30 May in Berlin. CMS Agreements Officer Lyle Glowka (photo:
left) met the Ambassador to collect his signature and
discuss the significance of Ghana’s membership in
the MoU. Conservation efforts in the region are guided
in part by IUCN’s Strategy for the Conservation
of West African Elephants which is appended to the MoU.
CMS and the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group work
together to coordinate activities under the MoU.
Ghana is the thirteenth and final Range State to sign
the agreement which was opened for signature in November
2005 during the Eighth Meeting of the CMS Conference of
the Parties. Ghana’s membership fills the last gap
in the MoU’s coverage.
Elephants have an important ecological role in the region’s
savannah and forest ecosystems. But demographic pressure
and the development of human activities have significantly
reduced the African Elephant’s habitat there. This
has caused extreme fragmentation of the remaining habitats
and an ever-increasing number of conflicts between elephants
During the 20th century approximately ninety percent
of the original range of the African elephant within the
thirteen West African range states was lost. This, along
with poaching and the ivory trade, is believed to have
compromised the long-term viability of most of West Africa’s
elephant populations. All of these populations were included
on Appendix I of CITES in 1989.
African elephants were one a group of species listed
on Appendix II when CMS was first adopted in 1979. Subsequent
work by the Secretariat, Scientific Council and the Conference
of the Parties with the range states focused CMS’s
attention on the West and Central African populations
and ultimately led to the development of the MoU.
Small in total area, Ghana is a key country in the race
to save the West Africa’s elephant populations.
It shares borders with Togo to the west, Burkina Faso
to the north and Cote d’Ivoire to the east. It includes
savannah and forest zones where regionally significant
numbers of elephants live.
Ghana hosts three elephant populations in its forest
zones. One population is the region’s second largest
having an estimated 658 individuals. This population is
shared with Côte d’Ivoire.
More significantly in the savannah zone Ghana has five
populations. Of these three are shared with other countries.
The largest with an estimated 771 individuals is shared
between Burkina Faso, Ghana and Togo. It is the region’s
second largest elephant population.
In his meeting with Ambassador Kesse, Mr Glowka, said
the MoU and its Strategy, will reinforce Ghana’s
elephant conservation work not only at home. “These
instruments will also provide a strong international cooperative
framework through which Ghana can work with its neighbours
Togo, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, who
have also signed the MoU, to conserve and manage the elephant
populations that are shared. We look forward to working
with the four countries, the IUCN African Elephant Specialist
Group and others to secure the elephant’s future
in the region.”
For more information please contact:
Secretariat (click here)
the CMS West African Elephant MoU webpages (click here)