Thanks to Emmanuel Amoah, crocodiles in Ghana are now a priority conservation group. Emmanuel, who hails from the small rural town of Aboso-Nusaem in Ghana, founded a conservation NGO after fast tracking his conservation passion developed on a TBA field course. He is now safeguarding important ecosystems and saving threatened species through his NGO called Threatened Species Conservation Alliance (THRESCOAL).
“We can’t do conservation without involving local communities and ensuring their livelihoods are supported”, Emmanuel points out. That is exactly what his NGO – THRESCOAL – is doing, creating positive outcomes for crocodiles and people. Crocodiles are fascinating aquatic animals in their physical looks, hunting ability and cultural history. Unfortunately, they have a negative image as man-eaters and suffer persecution where they live near to human settlements. This means they are often considered low priorities in conservation across Africa and their decline has not received as much attention compared with other wildlife.
Crocodiles play an important role in aquatic ecosystems. As well as being a top predator, they create burrows that provide refuges for fish and other aquatic species during the dry seasons. They are also part of African tradition and culture, and a key component of ecotourism, which supports local economies. However, Emmanuel tells us their conservation has been hindered because of a lack of interest, lack of experts, and limited financial resources.
That is why Emmanuel and colleagues at THRESCOAL are advocating for conservation of these overlooked reptiles through grassroots actions. This is currently the only conservation group focusing on crocodiles in Ghana, and they are building a following among, young conservationists.
Emmanuel’s greatest achievement so far is discovering the largest known population of the critically endangered west African slender-snouted crocodile (photo above) living outside a protected area (in Tano River). The species is listed as possibly extinct in many countries it was historically found, and is one of the top five most threatened crocodiles in the world. In efforts to pull the species from the edge of extinction, THRESCOAL is championing the process of designating their habitat as a protected area.
Emmanuel’s pioneering work on safeguarding the last stronghold of the West African slender-snouted crocodile earned him a Whitley Award in 2022. The photo shows him with Josia and Dom, also TBA alumni. All three took part in the training course TBA did for the Whitley Foundation.
Thanks to him the future of crocodile conservation and research in Africa looks bright.