Ankasa Park cries for investment to develop eco-tourism potential

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Environment Ankasa Conservation
Environment Ankasa Conservation

The Ankasa Tropical Forest in the Western Region, endowed with fascinating ecotourism sites, rare animal and plant species needs urgent investment to develop its eco-tourism potential, says its Park Manager.

Gazzeted in 1976, the about?500 square kilometre park is one of the few evergreen tropical high forest in the sub-region endowed with more than?800 plant species per hector.

It is bestowed with more than 263 bird species, 639 butterflies, eight primates, 23 large and 43 small mammals.

Mr Richard Amanfo, the Park Manager, told the Ghana News Agency that the park had the highest biodiversity index worldwide and when developed as a tourist site, it could be a cash-cow for the country.

Developing the park and others, he said, would position Ghana as the preferred ecotourism destination, which would boost the country’s economy like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda, and Zambia.

In 2020, ecotourism contributed about? US$4.2 billion to the Kenyan economy while the sector contributed 1.2 billion to Ghana’s economy.

A study by Damnyag et al., 2016 estimated tthat hhe tree stock at Ankasa was valued at about $?19.1 million, representing 64.3?million tCO2e of carbon worth $379.5 million.

It also revealed that conserving the Ankasa until 2042 could provide global public good of?emission reduction level of 31.6?million tCO2e to the minimum at a?direct on-site maximum total opportunity cost of $761 million to the country.

Mr Amanfo mentioned that the Park when developed and maintained, could absorb carbon dioxide emissions.

“This can be monetised by the Government as part of its resolve to tap into the carbon market under the Article (6.4) of the Climate Paris Agreement,” he said.

He said, “It is the only part in the whole world that one can find so many species within a kilometre square. There are species like Ankasensis, an ornamental plant that is endemic-not found anywhere globally but in Ghana”.

Mr Amanfo hinted that resources there could be used to develop canopy walkway,

“I am sure many people during holidays will like to know visit and know Baboon Cathedral, watch species of migratory birds, hike, and cool off at the riverside,” he said.

The Park Manager stated that developing the park to an ecotorurism would ensure sustainable management of the natural environment and its resources as Goal 15 of the Sustainable Development Goals and the climate pact enjoined countries to do.

Ankasa Park, he said, had been identified and confirmed as one of the two Key Biodiversity Areas, and among the most important places in the world for species and their habitats.

Aside from investment, Mr Amanfo said Illegal killing of wildlife, low staff strength, infrastructure and logistical were the topmost challenges managers were facing.

He explained that the forest reserve with it land size, required about 70 staff but currently had staff strength of 43.

“Although, the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission recently posted some personnel to the facility, they are not enough. The Commission also provides funding and other logistics but it is limited,” he said.

He said there were some critical road network and bridges that needed to be built to secure access to the north of the Park.

Mr Amanfo appealed to philanthropic organisations to help complete the Range Camp accommodation project for staff.

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