Threats to Mammals In Niumi National Park In Gambia

Niumi National Park in Gambia is facing several threats that impact the mammal populations within the park. These threats primarily arise from human activities and habitat degradation.

Environmental Issues In Gambia, West Africa

One significant threat is the setting of fires, clearance of land for agriculture, sand-mining, and timber harvesting. These anthropogenic activities contribute to habitat degradation, leading to the loss of suitable habitats for mammals.

Additionally, the reduction in rainfall and seasonal flow of tributaries (bolons) in the park, combined with anthropogenic factors, is negatively affecting the vegetation of the gallery forest and rain-fed swamp vegetation along watercourses. This habitat degradation further impacts the availability of resources for mammals.

The expansion of agricultural activities also reduces the availability of corridors for wildlife movement. Increased human activity in the park may exacerbate this isolation factor, limiting the ability of mammals to move freely and access necessary resources. This can lead to population isolation and fragmentation, which can have long-term negative genetic consequences.

Livestock grazing pressure during the dry season has a direct impact on the standing crop of vegetation available for wild ungulates. The increased presence of livestock reduces the amount of cover and food available for wildlife in general, affecting their survival and population dynamics.

On the island of Jinack, cattle browsing and trampling limit the regeneration of trees and shrubs, particularly in the pioneer zone of vegetation on the dune front. This not only disrupts the ecosystem but also increases the island’s vulnerability to coastal erosion.

Furthermore, the increased fishing efforts in coastal waters and inland bolons require regulation to prevent negative impacts on breeding and recruitment stocks. Overfishing can lead to a decline in fish populations, which in turn affects the utilization of the area by marine mammals such as humpbacked and bottle-nosed dolphins.

To address these threats to mammal populations in Niumi National Park, it is crucial to implement measures that promote sustainable land-use practices, regulate human activities, and protect critical habitats. This includes establishing and enforcing regulations for fishing, monitoring livestock grazing, promoting reforestation and habitat restoration efforts, and raising awareness among local communities about the importance of conserving wildlife and their habitats.

Collaboration between park management, local communities, and relevant stakeholders is essential to develop and implement conservation strategies that ensure the long-term survival and well-being of mammal populations in Niumi National Park.

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