The Wildlife Act of 1977 and the Biodiversity /Wildlife Act 2003 established the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management (DWPM), instituting the department as the chief agency responsible for the “conservation, management and development” of The Gambia’s wildlife resources (GEF 2002). It is also the lead government institution responsible for implementing several international treaties and agreements including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar), the Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species (Bonn Convention), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), among others agreements.
At present, national parks and game reserves cover approximately 4.9% of the country (GEF 2002), and these areas currently provide significant protection to coastal resources. There is however, considerable internal and external interest in expanding the area of coastal habitats under formal protection by 26% to total 10%of the country’s land area (GEF 2002, DPWM 1998).
The Gambia is endowed with a high diversity of plant and animal species. The components of biodiversity embrace the wild fauna and flora and associated ecosystems as well as the domestic species, including plant varieties and land races of domestic animals that have been bred and developed for thousands of years by farmers, as well as species that are dependent on the agricultural systems developed