Dr. Rob Horwich, Director of Community Conservation, a Gays Mills-based organization that works internationally, recently returned from a trip to Ghana in West Africa.
Horwich spent some time initially in Accra with collaborator Andrea Dempsey, the country coordinator of West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA). The pair strategized about a community project, which is protecting the last forests in southwestern Ghana. Those forests provide habitat for two critically endangered monkeys, the Roloway monkey and the white-naped managabey.
Then, Horwich traveled to the forested areas along the Tano River on the border of the Ivory Coast. There he traveled with WAPCA’s Field Coordinator David Osei, visiting forest communities.
Twelve communities in the Kwabre peat swamp forest have formed a government-sanctioned community group, the Ankasa Tano CREMA, whose members patrol the forest stopping illegal loggers and hunters. While Horwich was there, he attended a meeting with villagers and others from the Ivory Coast to plan forming a trans-border community-protected area. Following the meeting, some of the group visited a boat building operation to select a boat for purchase so the Ivorian team can better patrol the Tano River.
Horwich also witnessed the capture of an illegal hunter by WAPCA members and members of the Ankasa Tano CREMA. After talking with the hunter, they confiscated the hunter’s rifle, snares and other materials which they handed over to the Chief of Nawule, who is President of the community CREMA. They also took possession of a young bushbuck calf that a villager had rescued which will probably be put in the Accra Zoo.
The Ghana project is one of 26 projects that Community Conservation has worked with over the past 30 years protecting over 1.5 million acres. Other projects include catalyzing of the creation of the Kickapoo Reserve and the conversion of the Badger Army Ammunitions Plant lands to the Badger Recreation lands in Wisconsin as well as projects in Belize, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru, Rwanda, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, India and Nepal.