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Makasutu Wildlife Trust - Gambia

Contact Address:
Makasutu Wildlife Trust
Banjul area Head office
C/o Dept. of Parks & Wildlife
PO Box 2164 Serrekunda
Kanifing Municipality Ksmd
The Gambia, West Africa
Tel no: +220 7782633 


Darwin Field Station For Biodiversity
Research, Education and Training
(Darwin Initiative & Wildlife Clinic)
Abuko Nature Re
Kombo North

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 and ecosystems.

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 abilities.

Developing the abilities of local people to conserve and protect their biodiversity and sustainably manage their local natural resources.

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 natural environment
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.

Species List:
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. 
c/o Dept. of Parks & Wildlife

Tel no: 7782633
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