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Conservation Projects In Gambia – Threats to Mammals In Niumi National Park

Threats to Mammals In Niumi National Park In Gambia

In Niumi National Park habitat degradation results from diverse factors including anthropogrenic activities such as the setting of fires, clearance of land for agriculture, sand-mining and harvesting of timber.

The steady reduction in rainfall has reduced the seasonal flow of the various bolons (tributaries) and in combination with the anthropogenic factors is affecting the vegetation of the gallery forest and the extent of rain fed swamp vegetation of the associate watercourses.

Expansion of agricultural activity reduces the availability of corridors for movement of wildlife, and increased human activity may further exacerbate this isolation factor.

Should there be further expansion, many larger mammals may become restricted to enclaves which are insufficient to meet their requirements or isolate a population too small too be genetically viable.The apparent increase in grazing pressure from livestock brought into the park during the dry season has a direst impact on the standing crop of herbage available for wild ungulates, as having the effect of reducing the amount of cover for wildlife in general.

On the island of Jinack, the cattle are limiting the regeneration of trees and shrubs through browsing and trampling. The pioneer zone of vegetation on the dune front is also being damaged through trampling thereby increasing the risk of coastal erosion to which the island is extremely vulnerable.

The increased fishing effort in the coastal waters and inland bolons, requires regulation in terms of fishing sites, methods and engines to avoid impacting negatively on both the breeding and recruitment stocks. A reduction in the fish populations may result in a decrease in the utilization of the area by the humpbacked and bottle-nosed dolphins.

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