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Data from: Numbers and population trends of large herbivores in Mole National Park, Ghana

Citation

Dakwa, Kwaku Brako; Monney, Kweku Ansah; Cuthill, Innes Cameron; Harris, Stephen (2019), Data from: Numbers and population trends of large herbivores in Mole National Park, Ghana, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.zw3r2284c

Abstract

Mole National Park (MNP) is Ghana’s oldest and largest wildlife preserve. Eight large herbivores were counted in four different seasons in 2013/2014 on transects covering 4.7% of the park to estimate their population sizes and trends after changes in park management; all species were more abundant than previously reported. Averaging counts across seasons, and including all age classes, gave an estimated population of 1595 elephants, which is likely to be a substantial proportion of the west African elephant population. Kob were the most abundant herbivore, with an estimated population of 9092, followed by bushbuck (6758), warthog (6247) and hartebeest (6039). Roan, buffalo and waterbuck population estimates were 4382, 4272 and 4140 respectively. The impact of widespread burning on herbivore populations is currently unknown, but probably helps maintain both numbers and diversity. While all herbivore populations were higher than previously estimated, it was hard to determine the extent of recent increases due to methodological limitations of earlier aerial surveys. However, the distribution of large herbivores seems to be little changed, suggesting that both numbers and distribution are still limited by poaching and seasonal water availability.