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Status and challenges for conservation of small mammals assemblages of Ghana

Benjamin Y. Ofori, Daniel K. Attuquayefio, Gbogbo Francis

Department of Animal Biology and Conservation Science, University of Ghana, Legon-Accra, Ghana

Key words: Biodiversity conservation, Forest-obligates, Habitat generalists, Rodents and shrews, Upper Guinean endemics, zoogeography.


Yellow-headed Picathartes-Mike Galtry-5783Our knowledge of the distribution, composition and status of small mammal assemblages of Ghana is scanty. To date, an up-to-date checklist of small mammals of the country is non-existent, despite being vital zoogeographical and conservation tool. Here, we review available literature to compile a preliminary checklist of Ghana’s small mammals, highlight key knowledge gaps and challenges for conservation and identify future research priorities. Forty-nine species comprising 34 rodents (Rodentia) (excluding squirrels and cane rats), 14 shrews (Soricomorpha) and one hedgehog (Erinaceomorpha) have been recorded in Ghana since 1975. Rodents and shrews showed widespread distribution across southern Ghana where most published studies have been concentrated. The rodent Praomys tullbergi and the shrew Crocidura olivieri were most commonly-reported. All small mammals were listed as Least Concern except Crocidura buettikoferi and Crocidura grandiceps, which are Near Threatened. Malacomys edwardsi and Hybomys trivirgattus are forest-obligates and Upper Guinean endemics of conservation importance. There is an urgent need for basic biological surveys throughout the country, particularly in the northern regions where no small mammal studies has been published. Long-term monitoring of forest obligate like Hylomyscus sp., Hybomys sp., Malacomys sp., Crocidura muricaudata and C. grandiceps could reveal the impacts of environmental changes including habitat loss and degradation, and climate change on Ghana’s small mammals.

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