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Conserving the Pygmy Hippo in Sierra Leone

  • Locations: Loma Mountain, Sierra Leone
  • Active dates: 2007 - 2012


To ensure the survival of the pygmy hippopotamus throughout its range.



Occurs in West Africa (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast and possibly Nigeria). The species is less social than the common hippopotamus and is primarily nocturnal, and the pygmy hippo’s range does not overlap with its common cousin. Hippo skin contains pores that secrete pink “blood-sweat”, a thick substance allowing them to remain in water or dry atmospheres for long periods. Pygmy hippos feature in folktales: one says that at night they carry diamonds in their mouths, and if a hunter catches one he gets the jewel. It is estimated that around 2,000-3,000 pygmy hippos survive, and the Nigerian subspecies may already be extinct.


Conduct surveys to establish distribution, population size and threats around Loma Mountain

Work with local communities around Loma Mountain to establish community based conservation initiative benefiting both local people and pygmy hippos

Carry out a national assessment to determine distribution, population size and priority sites for conservation work

Develop national action plans for pygmy hippo conservation in each of the range states

Integrate additional data from other current projects by creating a new pygmy hippo website and database for sharing knowledge

Continue to build capacity and co-ordinate conservation work with collaborators



Completed preliminary surveys of the waterways around Loma Mountain in December 2010, confirming the presence of pygmy hippos. A community conservation project is now being developed

Village surveys and talks resulted in one village declaring ‘no hunting’ of pygmy hippo by any villager

Collaborators and Supporters

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