Newmont Ghana Limited is undertaking a five-year project aimed at conserving a rare kind of bird called “White-necked Rock fowl”, found mainly in Africa.
The bird whose local Ghanaian name is “Anamie,” was thought to be extinct until it was re-discovered in 2003 in some forests in the Ashanti region.
Mr Augustus Asamoah, a Doctor of Philosophy student in Conservation and Wildlife at the University of Ghana, at a dinner to discuss findings from an earlier research over the weekend, said Newmont had taken the right decision to embark on the conservation project since it could be developed into livelihood opportunities for ecotourism.
“There is a new breed of tourists who just like to watch birds and for every bird watcher who travels to Africa, the number one priority is to see the White-necked rock fowl.”
Mr Asamoah who is working on a similar project, recommended to Newmont to expand their research programme to give it a broader perspective.
The project which is being pursued in collaboration with Earth Watch Institute in the United Kingdom, Ghana wildlife Society, Forestry Services Division, Chiefs and people of Asumura, a village in the Ashanti region and some environmentalists cost about 26 thousand dollars.
Mr Patrick Adjewoda, Principal Investigator in the project, said the White necked rock fowl numbered about 10 thousand in the whole world, hence the need to protect the bird which is found only in few African countries.
He said at the end of the project, he would share the knowledge gained with the rest of the world especially other African countries where the bird could be found.
Mr Adjewoda said one major challenge was the slow pace of data gathering on the bird and said the project would serve a wider conservation purpose apart from protecting the bird.
The bird also known as “Picathartes Gymnocephalus” requires a specific kind of vegetation to live comfortably, he added.
Mr Yaw Antwi Dadzie, External Affair Manager at Newmont, Ghana said his organization signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a period between March 2007 and February 2011 with a sponsorship amount of about 96 thousand dollars per annum for four years to embark on the conservation project.
He said the project was in line with Newmont’s commitment towards environmental sustainability.
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