By Nana Owusu-Ansah

Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana

Citizens demand the public sector to provide services in timely and appropriate manner in the current knowledge economy (Galavan, Murray and Markides, 2008). Wildlife conservation strategy especially in countries which have signed unto the convention on biodiversity sustainability has been reformed to meet public demand (Larsen, 2006 and Schmidt-Soltau, 2003). The Wildlife Division of Ghana reformed its strategic management to deliver quality service and enhance public participation in conservation (Wildlife Division, 2000). A possible adaptation of wildlife conservation strategy by protected areas in Ghana on a balanced scorecard is the subject of this paper. The author is a wildlife protected area manager.

Protected Area Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Wildlife conservation is aimed at preserving nature for the greater benefit of society. It is for the dwindling benefits from the environment (Schmidt-Soltau, 2003) that informs conservation strategy. Conservation strategy spans across ecosystems, species and genes preservation. Wildlife conservation has led to the establishment of protected areas and also restricting wildlife utilization outside protected areas (Schmidt-Soltau and Brockington, 2007). Protected areas provide recreational, scientific and livelihood improvement benefits. Restriction strategies infringe peoples’ rights of access over wildlife utilization. Law enforcement on wildlife utilization is challenged by financial and human resources inadequacies especially in Africa (Jachmann, 2007). Strict law enforcement has been mixed with collaborative and sensitization strategies to achieve conservation objectives.

Conservation objectives in Ghana are taken from the mission statement of the Wildlife Division which reads “To work effectively with others to ensure sustainable management and development of Ghana’s wildlife and their habitats, so as to optimize their contribution to national socio-economic development (Wildlife Division, 2000)”. The need to work with others to achieve sustainability is necessitated by people’s uncooperative attitude (Larsen, 2006) and the inability of the Wildlife Division to enforce laws (Jachmann, 2007). Innovations to address these shortcomings are required. Figure one shows three prong strategic objectives in managing wildlife protected areas in Ghana.


Figure 1: Wildlife Conservation strategy. Source: Author

Adapting Wildlife Conservation Strategy on Balanced Scorecard

Nivan (2002) stated one of the advantages of the balanced scorecard is its flexibility to measure both financial and non-financial performance either in business or in the public sector. The balanced scorecard measures organization’s performance from four perspectives- customer, internal processes and practices, employee growth and learning and the financial metrics (Nivan).  The main objective of wildlife conservation strategy is not to achieve high financial performance from consumptive utilization but from its non-consumptive intrinsic satisfaction.   

Anti-poaching Patrol Objectives

Anti-poaching activities are to be both preventive and deterrent-requiring anti-poaching team members to work together. Anti-poaching patrols are initiated at patrol camps. A clear hierarchical structure makes the most senior employee at the camp the leader (Jachmann, 2007). Camps organize patrols, but park managers through their law enforcement officers initiate special patrols where employees are deployed to specific targets including reaching specific spots or spending a number of days on patrol.  Patrolling enthusiasm and its effectiveness depends on the park manager generating hot spots (Gratton, 2007) among employees. Leadership role is to explain and relate mission statement of the Wildlife Division encouraging employees to cooperate among themselves and other stakeholders. Teamwork in anti-poaching patrols is equivalent to Gratton’s description of cooperative mindset needed for peer to peer working relationship to devise innovation.

Anti-poaching patrol effectiveness measurement is important to ensure employees meet effective patrol man days of 15 days per month (Jachmann, 2007).  The current performance measurement is not linked to employee compensation which demotivates most employees to just meet the minimum patrol requirements. However, some park managers have instituted camp based league on performance to reward employees. Employees on patrol collect data on wildlife and illegal activities sighted. The illegal activities recordings are lag indicators (Nivan, 2002) providing previous poaching incidences records. These indicators however, inform park mangers on deployment initiatives. A balanced scorecard would emphasize on lead indicators including informants’ hints and sightings of keystone species (equivalent to Gratton’s, 2007 signature process) of the protected areas. Species sightings feed into recreational and research measures of wildlife conservation for customer satisfaction on a balanced scorecard.

 Conservation Education Objectives

Wildlife conservation education is fashioned to tell the importance of conservation on human welfare and livelihoods. It also spells out the laws governing utilization and the penalties for flouting them. The targets for conservation education is society including employees, tourists and other stakeholders especially those who live near the resources. Special unit within protected areas undertakes this activity. Nivan (2002) recommended the use of various media in developing a balanced scorecard that would be accepted at the executive level cascading unto the lower ranks of the organization.  Conservation education dissemination modes include mass media, community durbars, film shows, posters and signage to capture a larger audience.

Conservation education objective is to get support from society in a boundary spanning activity (Gratton, 2007) to generate conservation hot spots for collaboration. The education unit is to tell the Wildlife Division’s mission (Gratton; and Nivan, 2002) to catch on with employees and other stakeholders for effective conservation strategy. The park manager finds resources for the unit to carry its tasks and also takes feedback to inform management decisions.

Collaborative Resource Management Objectives

Due to past failure of sole application of stringent laws, collaborating with communities to manage wildlife is no longer an option, but a requirement for effective conservation strategy (Larsen, 2006). The objective is to have governance structures at the community level. It also links livelihoods to conservation through investments in enterprises like eco-tourism and collection of non-timber forest products (Wildlife Division, 2000). Other collaborative objectives include improving research on the unique aesthetic sites and species. The park manager’s role include collaborating with other law enforcement agencies including the Police and the Judiciary to ensure arrested poachers are prosecuted and sentence to deter others. The park manager seeks opportunity for investors to get conservation businesses in fringe communities.

Balanced scorecard Perspectives and Conservation Objectives

This section adapts wildlife conservation strategic objectives onto a balanced scorecard by integrating them into the four perspectives of finance, customer satisfaction, employee growth and learning and internal processes and practices. Nivan (2002) stated the four perspectives on the balanced scorecard must interlink with each other such that they will culminate in improving organizational performance.  The park manager is the team leader for the balanced scorecard introduction in a protected area. He should champion the planning by leading and providing material resources needed to achieve organizational mission.

For example the protected area management anti-poaching activities can be planned on employee growth and learning perspectives. Again effective employee deployment for anti-poaching patrols can be assessed on the internal processes and practices perspective. Although implementation requires budgetary demands, its effectiveness should results in increase financial receipts from fees and charges from royalties, research and tourism. Table one shows a matrix of conservation strategy integrated into the four balanced scorecard perspectives (Nivan, 2002). Measures, targets and initiatives can be set from the objectives in the matrix.

Balanced Scorecard Perspectives

Protected Area Conservation Strategy

Anti-poaching patrol Management Objectives

Conservation Education Objectives

Collaborative Resource Management Objectives

Customer Satisfaction

-To conserve animal for tourism and research.

-To regulate wildlife trade.

-To ensure tourists and researchers’ safety.

-To promote species for tourism and research.

- To erect signage to educate customers.

-To educate on ecosystem functions and laws.

-To provide investment opportunities for businesses and not for profit organizations into wildlife conservation.


Internal Processes and Practices

-To improve rate of employee deployment.

-To detect poaching and counteract promptly.

-To effectively process poachers to court.

- To have database on wildlife species.

-To gather feedback from stakeholders for improvement.

-To present organizational principles and values to employees at all levels and other stakeholders.



-To provide platform for communities’ engagement.

-To create informant arrangements for effective anti-poaching patrol.

-To work with police and courts to enhance arrested poachers prosecution.


Employee Growth and Learning

-To measure employee patrol performance.

-To link compensation to patrol performance.

-To determine employee training needs.

-To develop and outsource training programmes for employee.

-To gather educational response feedback for continuous improvement.

-To support anti-poaching by using community governance structures.

-To get feedback on employee performance.

Financial Metrics

-To budget for anti-poaching activities.

-To increase revenue from tourists and fees.

-To publicize sites for increase tourist visit and research receipts.

-To budget for its activities.

-To increase revenue in rents and royalties from investors.

-To reduce operational cost through effective network of community governance.

Table 1: Balanced Score Card perspective on protected area strategy: Source; Author.


The balanced scorecard translates organizational vision to long term objectives that is operationalized into strategies (Kaplan and Norton, 1996). Wildlife conservation strategy on a balanced scorecard would measure beyond financial performance of protected areas in Ghana which is the core mandate and not revenue generation focus. The balanced scorecard as a management system, strategic management system and communication tool (Nivan, 2002) would present conservation strategy to employees and external stakeholders at the protected areas.  Deep thinking and reflections to identify leverages (Gratton, 2007) in protected areas are required and park managers must provide leadership in its introduction.



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