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Aerial Inventory of the Comoé National Park and the Biodiversity Sites of Waringue and Mont Tingui

Created by Kerstin Güthler |

Comoé National Park Biodiversity Protection Project

Authors: Nounifou Sabdano (OFINAP); Julie Linchant (Aviation Sans Frontières); Loïc Eisendrath (Aviation Sans Frontières / GxABT); Xavier Vincke (Aviation Sans Frontières); Philippe Lejeune (Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Ulg)

The Comoé National Park (CNP) is one of the largest protected areas in sub-Saharan West Africa and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site. Declining wildlife populations have led to the CNP being listed as World Heritage in Danger. Since 2002, the CNP has been managed by the Office Ivoirien de Parcs et Réserves through its North-East Zone Directorate based in Bouna.

The OIPR, with the support of its partners, has set up an ecological monitoring system with triennial aerial inventories since 2010. The last two surveys have produced encouraging results confirming that the populations of buffalo Syncerus caffer brachyceros, hippotragus equinus koba, hartebeest Alcelaphus buselaphus major, etc., seem to be slowly recovering and some numbers are now increasing, sometimes by more than 50% compared to the 2019 survey. The most common species seen in the Comoé National Park were hartebeests, which are abundant throughout the park, buffalos, hippotragus and kobs. Elephants were seen on three occasions, for a total of 73 individuals in 2022. No elephant carcasses were found during the survey. In the Waringué biodiversity zone, where human pressures have increased significantly since 2019, elephants migrate seasonally, as evidenced by a herd of 45 individuals located during the survey. This underlines the importance of this corridor with the conservation areas of Burkina Faso. Chimpanzees were observed during the 2016 and 2019 surveys, but not in 2022. However, they are regularly observed by camera traps.

The main but stagnant threats are poaching and cattle grazing. The main threat remains illegal gold panning, which has been steadily increasing since 2016.

Comparison (abundance index / 100 km) of some wild animal species encountered

Species

2016

2019

2022

Buffalo

3,06

7,77

23,20

Hartebeest

23,10

52,36

76,42

Kob

2,37

8,49

11,29

Hippotragus

9,41

11,22

17,86

Elephant

0,00

0,03

0,49

Duiker

0,77

2,92

3,76

Baboon

2,70

1,94

2,60

Warthog

1,27

3,29

3,83

Elephant herds in the gallery forest along the river in the Comoé National Photo credits: © Xavier Vincke, Alexis Peltier, Julie Linchant
The inventory team on the plane, with, from left to right, SABDANO Nounifou, KOFFI KOUASSI Yves Constant, LINCHANT Julie, AYEBY Théophile, PELTIER Alexis
Kobus kobs
Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus)