Protected area performance and tourism in Ghana
South African Journal of Wildlife Research
SNV-Ghana, Airport Residential, KIA Accra, Mankata Close 6, Ghana; P.O. Box 47074, Nairobi 00100, Kenya; Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, PO. Box M239, Accra, Ghana
Performance and adaptive management systems were introduced in all protected areas in Ghana to stop the decline in wildlife and the further loss of biodiversity. The competitive management system resulted in an increase in the relative abundance of wildlife at seven sites where the system had been in operation for 4 years (2004-2008). We examined the relationships between wildlife-based tourism and park management, and key factors that may influence tourism. First, we scrutinized the relationship between the relative abundance of illegal activity and numbers of visitors, the relative abundance of wildlife, and road network. Poaching declined with increasing numbers of tourists that acted as a deterrent, whereas poaching increased with a higher relative abundance of wildlife. Second, we examined the relationship between the numbers of visitors and the relative abundance of wildlife, species richness, distances from Accra, regional capitals and the nearest hotel; the road network on site, and the numbers of alternative tourist attractions. Increasing numbers of alternative tourist attractions, and shorter distances to the nearest hotel attracted higher numbers of visitors. An important additional factor that influenced the flow of tourists to protected areas was the presence of unique site attractions.
adaptive management; biodiversity; ecotourism; park management; poaching; population decline; protected area; relative abundance; species richness; tourist attraction; wild population; wildlife management; Accra; Ghana; Greater Accra