Alba Hendier


Population Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA) of pygmy hippos (Choeropsis liberiensis) in Taï National Park (Ivory Coast)

My Master thesis will be supervised by Prof. Klaus Zuberbühler (University of Neuchâtel), Monique Paris (Director of IBREAM and Prof. of James Cook University), Dr Karim Ouattara and Dr Inza Kone (Félix Houphouët Boigny University (Abidjan) and members of the Centre Suisse de Recherche Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS)).

The pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) is classified as endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This species is found mainly in four countries of West Africa : Ivory Coast, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Indeed, it was discovered very late in West Africa (early nineteenth century) and its current number is estimated to be less than 3.000 individuals and the majority of individuals  are believed to be reside in the Taï National Park (TNP) in Ivory Coast (IUCN, 2007). The main threats to its survival are habitat loss, lack of adequate legal protection and poaching for bushmeat (Lewison & Oliver, 2008 ; Mallon et al, 2011). An often unstable political situation leads to insecurity of protected areas, unregulated logging and hunting and restricted conservation efforts (Mallon et al., 2011, Conway, 2013).

Since 2010, a collaboration between the Institute for Breeding Rare and Endangered African Mammals (IBREAM) and the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS) started the Pygmy Hippo conservation project « Taï Hippo Projet » (THP) . The aim of this project is to inventarize the status of pygmy hippos and their habitat in the Ivory Coast, gather basic knowledge of the species, and precisely to define a detailed conservation management plan to assist long term survival of the species. Thus, my project will follow the initial start up studies performed by the IBREAM/CSRS team. The aims of my project will be to study factors of viability of the pygmy hippos and their habitat in TNP, where there is the largest population of this species in the wild. At the end, we will take into account in our assessment the dynamics of their habitat and the anthropogenic activities.


Bibliographical references

Conway A., (2013). Conservation of the Pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) in Sierra Leona, West Africa, Thesis. P209

IUCN 2007. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/10032/0

Lewison, R. & Oliver, W. (2008). Choeropsis liberiensis. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 31 October 2011

Mallon, D., Wightman C., Ornellas P. De, and Ransom C.. (2011). Conservation strategy for the pygmy hippopotamus. IUCN Species Survival Commission.