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A new zoogeography of domestication and agricultural planning in Southern Ghana

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Animal behaviour is vital for livestock choices, but is less researched in West Africa than economic considerations. An animal geography framework is applied to the socio-economic context of livestock behaviour in coastal Ghana, assessing the shared ‘actant’ behaviour of people and animals, and the contribution of such a study to animal geography and agricultural knowledge. Data were gathered on cattle, sheep and goat behaviour and the impact of these on human livelihoods, perceptions and the socio-environmental context. Animal behaviour was more important in the choice of livestock species, but economic considerations were more important in the decision to acquire animals. Goats had more incidents with people in village centres than sheep and cattle. Cattle had more incidents in farmland and grassland than goats and sheep. Women and young people were more affected by livestock behaviour. These findings increase the understanding of livestock zoogeography and livelihood decisionmaking, and contribute to animal geography by documenting the relevance of individualised gender- and age-based human behaviour, as well as intra- and inter-species animal behaviour to a shared actancy perspective, and a more dynamic zoogeography.

Keywords: Ghana; animal geography; cattle; goats; livestock; sheep; zoogeography

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada V2C 5N3, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2009


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