Threats To Reptiles & Amphibians In Gambia, West Africa
The threats to the reptiles and amphibians of Niumi National Park in Gambia are of a similar nature as to those described for mammals. In addition to the threats outlined preciously, the following more specific threats are pertinent.
Environmental Issues In Gambia, West Africa
Green turtles require undisturbed stretches of sandy beaches to breed with suitable dune vegetation. These conditions exist in abundance on the Atlantic shoreline of Jinack Island. However, the eggs are a favoured item for local consumption and despite their protected status, there is a risk that egg collection continues.
The turtles are also at risk from entanglement in fishing nets both from drowning and from being slaughtered when encountered.
Crocodiles have been subject to considerable hunting pressure in the past, and though the pressure appears to have been reduces, there is evidence that some hunting continues.
Whether this is for consumption or sale of skins or both is uncertain, though the trade in skins is quite effectively under control within The Gambia.
Within other West African nations, restriction in the trade of wildlife appear to be more lax, and poses the risk that animals and skins may be smuggled out of The Gambia for these markets. Snakes suffer continuously from the ill-founded hysteria of humans, though they resultantly remain shy and predominantly natural.
The increase in human activity coupled with the reduction in vegetation cover through heavy grazing pressure and the continuing occurrence of fire makes them more vulnerable to encounters.
Fire also poses a greater thereat to reptiles in general due to their often slow movement.
A decrease is the results in a reduction in the extent and longevity of rain fed swamps and water bodies which will invariably impact on the associated amphibian fauna. Amphibians are also likely to suffer should the use of pesticides increase in rice cultivation, which may have knock-on effects along the food chain through bioaccumulation.