Location and Overview
The Bomfobiri Wildlife Sanctuary presently covers a total area of 53km² and is situated between 6° 54’ to 6° 61’ N latitude and 1° 07’ to 1° 13’ W longitude. It is found in the Kumawu Traditional Area in the Ashanti Region, 67km North-West of Kumasi the Ashanti Regional capital. It is also one of the two Wildlife Sanctuaries gazetted in the country.
Bomfobiri Wildlife Sanctuary (BWS) is largely a semi-deciduous forest containing areas of more open Savannah with sandstone outcrops. 141 species of birds are on record in the sanctuary; among them include the Great Blue Turaco, a variety of Hornbills, including the Yellow-casqued Hornbill. 26 species of mammals, 3 species of crocodiles and 5 species of primates have been recorded in the Sanctuary, including the Red River Hog, species of Duikers, Green and Mona monkeys and the Buffalo. Tourists’ attractions include the Bomfobiri waterfalls, varied topography of flora and fauna and magnificent hills. The purpose of establishing BWS was to protect the varied ecosystem and ecological values of the area.
Establishment and Legal Status
The Bomfobiri Wildlife Sanctuary was originally contained within the 16.8km² Boumfum Forest Reserve, established under the Ashanti Authority Ordinance of 23rd March 1946. This “island” was expanded to its present size and re-designated as Bomfobiri Wildlife Sanctuary (BWS) by the Wildlife Reserves (Amendment) Regulation of 1975 L.I. 1022.
Many communities surround Bomfobiri Wildlife Sanctuary. The communities can, however, be categorized into two: those that existed before the establishment of the reserve and those that emerged well after the Reserve was created. Kumawu, Bodomase, Besoro, Temate and Drobonso are among communities in the first category. Communities in the second category tend to be situated closer to the reserve boundary, relatively smaller in size and have direct interaction with the reserve. They include Wala, Yirebontri,Wenamda, Soboyo, Dagomba, Pame-Ase, Mamprusi I, Mamprusi II, Amobia and Kokode, Wenamda, Azoke, Nhyiaso, and other smaller satellite settlements.
According to the 1984 national census, about 20% of the population of Effiduase Sekyere District, in which the Bomfobiri Wildlife Sanctuary was located, lived close enough (within a 10-15km radius) to exert some influence on the reserve. The reserve is located within the Sekyere Afram Plains and Sekyere Kumawu Districts with the capital being Drobonso and Kumawu respectively. The total population of these communities has grown from 19,799 in 1984 to 24,681 in 1992, 30,245 in 2002, and 37,832 in 2011 based on an estimated population growth of 2.6% per annum. Many of the communities near the reserve are composed of settler farmers, and the population has fluctuating characteristics. Owing to the traditional farming practices by the communities coupled with high demand for more resources to meet socioeconomic needs about the relatively rapid population growth, it is anticipated that more pressure will be felt on the reserve.
Land Tenure and Rights
The Bomfobiri Wildlife Sanctuary falls under the jurisdiction of Kumawu Traditional Council or precisely Kumawuman. The ultimate custodian of all lands in the Ashanti Region is the Ashantihene. The Kumawuhene has the power to sublet portions of the land to divisional and other sub-chiefs who are answerable to him in all matters concerning the land. The release of land for any development project is the prerogative of the Kumawuhene.
The Kumawu area in which the Bomfobiri Wildlife Sanctuary is situated, fall under the Sekyere Kumawu and Afram Plains District Assembly with the Headquarters at Kumawu. The District Chief Executive is the highest Government authority. There is a District Administrative Officer who performs and advises the District Chief Executive on all matters of Administration.
Traditionally, the area is administered by the Kumawu Traditional Council, headed by the Kumawuhene with his divisional chiefs as members. Every community or village has its chief or “odikro” who reports to the divisional chief of the area. The divisional chiefs are ultimately answerable to the Kumawuhene. The unilateral authority over land exercised by the Kumawuhene makes land acquisition for development projects very simple, with minimal land litigation.