The Makasutu Wildlife Trust (MWT) is a Gambian registered,
not-for-profit (NGO A66) charity whose main mission is to
help protect wildlife and its habitats, ecosystems,
and to promote greater understanding about the importance
of conservation, biodiversity and its sustainable exploitation.
To carry out its main mission the trust promotes the participation
of local people and increasing their capabilities in all facets
of biodiversity and its preservation, encouraging education
and environmental sensitivity.
At the MWT headquarters in Abuko
Nature Reserve, the employees carry out the training of
locals and tourist visitors, wildlife research, rehabilitation
and care orphaned and injured birds and animals, plan and
carry out conservation programmes.
Activities & Projects:
• Capacity building
The Makasutu Wildlife Trust carries out nationwide education
campaigns and provides courses for government staff, other
non-governmental organisations, local communities, and private
bodies in conservation and biodiversity.
• Darwin Initiative
The project is funded by the UK government and managed by
the Trust to help The Gambia to protect and conserve its biodiversity
• Supporting local conservation action
MWT has worked with villages on the creation of community
reserves and ecotourism schemes such as the Pirang
Forest Park ecotourism project. They have also worked
with forest guides of the
Tumani Tenda Eco-Reserve on their bird identification
Developing the abilities of local people to conserve and protect
their biodiversity and sustainably manage their local natural
It provides an Introduction to Wildlife Guiding course, which
has been taken by ground
tour operators, ecotourism and forest guides.
The national educational snake campaign operated jointly by
the trust and the Department
of Parks and Wildlife Management (DPWM) included training
of DPWM personnel in the handling of snakes.
• Increasing knowledge about biodiversity
This is achieved through research such as the river
survey of the reptiles, birds and mammals, field research
on the butterflies, amphibians bats, and reptiles.
The creation of a comprehensive species list, image database
about the fauna and flora of The Gambia, increase baseline
information about biodiversity and various other facets of
the natural world.
• Helping people to appreciate their
This is done with guided treks about the plants and animals
in Abuko Nature Reserve, distribution of 1,200 copies of an
easy to read field guide on common animals to schools and
lectures with school children about wildlife.
• Animal Clinic
Because illegal hunting of wildlife is still very common in
The Gambia there are many orphaned and injured animals and
birds. To address this problem, Makasutu Wildlife Trust started
a wildlife clinic at Abuko Nature Reserve in 2002.
The purpose of the wildlife hospital is to treat injured or
sick animals and return them to the wild. Some animals stay
short term while others take longer to heal and rehabilitate.
Over the years the MWT has taken in and cared for a number
of birds such as owls, herons, Senegal Parrots, doves and
egrets, reptiles such as turtles, baby crocodiles, tortoises
and snakes, mammals such as bushbuck fawn and Patas monkeys.
Some creatures are later released into the Kiang
West National Park.
Among the species recorded in The Gambia are bacteria, protocista
and invertebrates, vertebrates, fungi and plants
127 different mammal species have been recorded. This includes
the now extinct elephant and giraffe. However the country
still home to the warthog, hippo, spotted hyena and, 27 species
of rodents, 31 species of bat and small mammals.
More than 560 bird species have been listed. Over 220 of them
are known to breed locally.
Over 620 species of fish have been recorded. These include
both freshwater and marine species.
72 reptiles have been recorded in The Gambia, including 7
species of freshwater turtle, 2 tortoises, and 4 species of
marine turtles. There are 39 snake species, 17 species of
lizards, and 3 crocodile species.
33 species of amphibian have been recorded. These include
29 frog species, and 4 toad species.
There is insufficient research in this area. However, it is
known that at least 175 species of butterfly and 78 species
of dragonfly have been recorded.
The total number of plant species is hard to determine, and
much more work needs to be done. However the present total
of flowering plant species recorded is 1,005 and includes
herbs, shrubs, trees, grasses and climbers.
• What you can do to help?
For Makasutu Wildlife Trust to carry out its activities, it
has to raise its own money. It does this through a membership
based scheme, consultancies, projects and private donations.
It also sells posters, T-shirts, and booklets. Contact them
to find out how you can participate.
Dept. of Parks & Wildlife
Tel no: 7782633