EDGE Community


Project information

[Project name/title]
Constructing the evidence base to monitor the pygmy hippo (Hexaprotodon liberiensis) in Sapo National Park, Liberia


[Project description/overview]


Location:
Sapo National Park, Liberia

Project type:
Survey

Relevant EDGE species:
Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis)

Project members:
Ben Collen
John Konie




Relevant species
28. Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) EN

This species secretes oils known as "blood-sweat" which keep its skin waterproof.

[Relevance description]
A camera trap survey has been initiated to monitor pygmy hippos in Sapo National Park, Liberia.
Aims
To implement a monitoring programme using infra red camera traps to provide estimated of abundance of Pygmy hippos in Sapo National Park, which will feed into a conservation action plan for the species and to help inform park management.
 
Background
Project background: Signs of pigmy hippo have been observed in numerous localities within the park and over the last couple of months. It is now vital that detailed information on the species distribution within the park, and abundance estimates for the Sapo sub-population are collected. These estimates will lay the foundations for accurate, repeatable and robust population trend data to be compiled. Such data are essential for proactive conservation management of the species, both within the park and beyond its borders.
 
Project summary
The principle aim of this project is to implement a monitoring programme in Sapo National Park, Liberia, specifically designed to establish an evidence base for the presence of the Pygmy hippo, Hexaprotodon liberiensis, to inform management decisions and conservation action. Sapo National Park represents one of only three locations where pygmy hippos are thought to remain. Pygmy hippo sign has been observed in several localities within the park over the past couple of months. It is now vital that detailed information on the species distribution within the park, and abundance estimates for the Sapo sub-population are collected, laying the foundations for accurate, repeatable and robust population trend data to be compiled. Such data are essential for proactive conservation management of the species, both within the park and beyond its borders.
 
Objectives
1. Confirmation of the presence of the pygmy hippo in Sapo National Park.
2. Setting the evidence base for the monitoring trends in pygmy hippo abundance, and other Sapo National Park species.
3. The construction of a robust index of abundance of the pygmy hippo.
4. Presence/absence and site occupancy data on the pygmy hippo, and other species in the park.
5. Camera trap photos of the pygmy hippo, and other threatened species which will reinforce the park profile, both within Liberia and beyond.
6. A conservation management plan for the pygmy hippo, based on the survey results, and additional information on threats and conservation actions integrated from other Sapo projects.
7. Further development of a key monitoring technique which can be moved to areas beyond Sapo National Park.
8. Build capacity within the park for bio-monitoring of pygmy hippo, and of other medium to large vertebrates.
 
Achievements
- First confirmed photos of pygmy hippo in Liberia
- Grid 1 implemented
- Grid 2 implemented
 
Timescales
Start date: September 2007
Duration: One year
Project members
Dr Ben Collen : Resercher

Ben heads the Indicators and Assessment Unit at the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London

[Member role description]
Within this project:
Ben is hoping to find out pygmy hippo abundance and distribution data
John Konie : EDGE Fellow

Konie is working in Sapo National Park, Liberia, to establish conservation monitoring and actions for the Pygmy hippo ( Hexaprotodon liberiensis)

[Member role description]
Other key species
Other species caught by the camera traps include Giant forest hog (Hylochoerus meinertzhageni), bay duiker, (Cephalophus dorsalis), zebra duiker (Cephalophus zebra), Jentink's duiker (Cephalophus jentinki), and even the small slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea).

Other species in Sapo National Park which could also be caught on the camera traps include chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) and several species of monkey, including the threatened Diana monkey (Cercopithecus diana) and drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus).
 
Project partners
Robert Howard-Flora-Fauna International
Chris Carbone- Zoological Society of London
 
Donors
People's Trust for Endangered Species - £8202
EDGE Fellowship Grant - £2000
 
[Title:] Pygmy Hippo
[Image caption]
Hexaprotodon liberiensis
[Title:] Location
[Image caption]
Sapo National Park, Liberia
Associated Blog Posts
15th Oct 11
Trying to get cameras in the wild to capture images of the elusive pygmy hippo (Choeropsis liberiensis) is no easy task, but the project in Sapo National Par...  Read

28th Sep 11
The pygmy hippo is a priority EDGE mammal endemic to the threatened Upper Guinea Forests biodiversity hotspot with fewer than 3,000 believed to remain in the...  Read

25th Feb 10
The pygmy hippopotamus is today featured as the IUCN Red List ‘Species of the Day’, which is running throughout 2010 to mark the International Year of Bi...  Read

29th Jun 09
EDGE Fellow John Konie recently wrote to give us the news that the President of Liberia had made a visit to Sapo National Park, where Konie is using camera t...  Read

3rd Jul 08
Our EDGE Fellow John Konie monitors the pygmy hippopotamus and other threatened mammal species in Liberia. He has sent us the following information about Sap...  Read

11th Apr 08
Sapo National park comprises 1800 km2 of moist tropical lowland rainforest, with a varied mosaic of riparian, seasonally inundated, and dryland forest. Ther...  Read

10th Mar 08
Team 1 - forest team While the cameras must stay in the field for 35 days to allow sufficient time for images to be captured, in order to complete the train...  Read

4th Mar 08
On the 20th January, Ben Collen, Janna Rist and Olivia Daniel set off to Liberia to set up a monitoring programme in Sapo National Park, and to try and captu...  Read

20th Jan 08
Today we travel out to Sapo National Park to begin our pygmy hippo monitoring programme.  All the camera traps arrived last week thanks to Rich (at www.trai...  Read

12th Oct 07
Robert Howard, part of the Fauna and Flora International (FFI) team carrying out the biomonitoring programme in Sapo National Park sent us this blog:  ...  Read

23rd Aug 07
Hi I’m John Konie, I currently work as a Biologist for the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), in Liberia. Recently I have been given a great opportunity...  Read

[Title:] Activities
[Image caption]
Setting a camera trap
[Title:] Activities
[Image caption]
EDGE Fellow Konie checking a camera trap.
[Title:] Caught On Camera
[Image caption]
Pygmy hippo (Hexaprotodon liberiensis)
[Title:] Giant Forest Hog
[Image caption]
Hylochoerus meinertzhageni
[Title:] Zebra Duiker
[Image caption]
Cephalophus zebra
[Title:] Jentink's Duiker
[Image caption]
Cephalophus jentinki
[Title:] Activities
[Image caption]
Fieldwork in Sapo
[Title:] Location
[Image caption]
Sapo National Park, Liberia