Sapo NP – Home of the pygmy hippo

Our EDGE Fellow John Konie monitors the pygmy hippopotamus and other threatened mammal species in Liberia. He has sent us the following information about Sapo National Park, where he carries out his monitoring work:

Sapo National Park, Liberia’s first national park, is under serious threat from poachers. Quite recently, about 27 bodies of various animal species were confiscated by rangers from a meat trader within a town located near the park. Hunting and mining are order of the day by poachers within and around the park; thus, posing serious threat to biodiversity of the park.



Despite these threats, bio-monitoring and camera trapping programmes are succeeding. In recent times, camera trapping was done in one zone of the park. Various species of duikers and other interesting animal species’ photos were captured.



According to rangers assigned with the park, during their regular monthly patrols, tracks and faeces of pygmy hippo are often seen, and hippos are occasionally seen.


During the bio-monitoring exercise in May of this year, we were fortunate to have seen zebra duiker, Jentink’s duiker, bongo, chimpanzee, pygmy hippo and different monkey species.



Indeed, the park is home to important animal species that need serious conservation attention, especially the pygmy hippo.


If you would like to support John Konie’s pygmy hippopotamus monitoring work in Sapo National Park, please click here.


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  1. Peter Bray said,

    on July 22nd, 2008 at 9:14 am

    This “bush meat” phenomenon is so distressing. This may be a crazy proposition: but is it all possible to establish duiker breeding programs to satisfy the demand for their meat? I know that China has done this with tigers (resulting in international condemnation and no real clear solution). I imagine that duiker breed readily, and this might take some of the stress off wild populations?

  2. Sally Wren said,

    on October 3rd, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Hi Peter,

    Dr Noëlle Kümpel, who work at ZSL and has a lot of experience having worked on the subject of bushmeat in Africa a great deal, has told me that there are a lot of issues with captive breeding to satisfy the demand for bushmeat. Breeding bushmeat is complicated and needs long-term investment and effort and you first need to prove there is a demand for it over domestic meat.

    Breeding success may also be an issue – standard domestic animals like pigs or chickens have been deliberately selected over millennia for their high reproductive rate and ease of husbandry, but we know very little about duikers, many of which can not be kept well in captivity. Species we farm tend to be herbiverous, docile, and live in herds, which makes it more economic to famr them than to hunt them. There are some cane rat and giant snail breeding projects in west and central Africa, but because of the effort and investment required it is always important to question whether captive breeding is the best option.

    Captive breeding of tigers is a whole other issure – obviously they meet none of the critera but the economic return on their various products if farmed (which include tourist viewing) is much higher than that of meat alone and the various income lines are sufficient to pay for the high costs of their food, vet care and housing (although housing costs are minimised by unnatural groupings). There are a range of reasons why legalisation of trade in farmed tiger products would not stop trade in wild ones, such as the higher consumer appeal of wild product, the impossiblity of distinguishing farmed from captive product, and the lack of law enforcement on wildlife trade. You can find out more about this issue at

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