Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary (WCHS)

This community-managed wildlife sanctuary consists of a 34-km stretch of riverine forest, floodplain, and savannah woodland along the Black Volta River, in northwestern Ghana. Created in 1998 in response to the decline of hippopotami in the region due to high levels of hunting, the sanctuary has used revenue from ecotourism to deliver infrastructure investments for the residents of its seventeen member communities.

Through a balancing of ecological and social needs, the sanctuary has delivered substantial conservation and socioeconomic benefits: poaching has been eliminated and the hippo population has stabilized within the sanctuary's core zone, while investments in schools, health facilities, solar lighting, and water infrastructure have improved the wellbeing of approximately 10,000 residents of the sanctuary's development zone. In 2009, the initiative was used as a model for the design of Ghana's Community Resource Management Area legislation.


Key Facts 

Equator Prize Winner: 2008
Founded: 1998
Location: Upper West Region, Ghana
Beneficiaries: 720 local households
Biodiversity: 237 bird, 50 mammal and 32 reptile species


Case Study

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 Equator Prize 2008

Sub-Saharan Africa

 Biodiversity Conservation

 Sustainable Forestry

 Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change

 Sustainable Energy


Contact Information

Axel Moehrenschlager
Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary (WCHS)
PO Box 569
Wa, Upper West Region
Ghana, West Africa
Tel: (233) 24-2805908
Email: axelm@calgaryzoo.ab.ca

Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC)
PO Box KN925, Kaneshie, Accra
Ghana, West Africa
Tel: (233) 21- 253718
Email: info@ncrc-ghana.org


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