Country Assessments

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Common Hippos

Common hippos are gregarious and social animals that can be found in wetlands, lakes, and rivers in at least 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Of those countries, confirmed population declines have been reported in half. The largest declines have occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country once thought to have one of the largest common hippo populations.

The primary threats to common hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting for meat and ivory (found in the canine teeth) and habitat loss. Illegal or unregulated hunting of common hippos has been found to be particularly high in areas of civil unrest. The common hippo's reliance on fresh water habitats appears to put them at odds with human populations and adds to their vulnerability, given the growing pressure on fresh water resources across Africa. Habitat loss stems from water diversion related to agricultural development as well as larger-scale development in and around wetland areas. Reports of human mortalities from common hippo interactions have also increased in recent years. Ten countries reported growing numbers of common hippo-human conflicts, in several cases exacerbated by drought conditions. 

Country Population Trend Status Concern Protection Enforcement Protected Areas
Angola ??? Declining? W-LD Yes Unknown Poor Quicama NP; Cameia NP, Bicaur NP, Mupa NP; Luando GS
Benin 300-500 Declining RD-LA No Unknown Poor Pendjari NP; "W" NP; Pendjari HZ; Djona HR; Wari Maro FR; Mt. Koufee FR
Botswana 2,000-4,000 Declining RD-LD No Total Fair Chobe NP; Makgadikgadi Pan GR; Moremi GR.
Burkina Faso 500-1,000 Declining RD-LD Yes Partial Poor W NP; Arly FR; Deux Bales FR; Bala BR, Soula Lake
Burundi 200-300 Unknown RD-LA No Total Good Ruvubu NP; Rusizi NR; Kigwena Forest NR; Lake Rwihinda NR
Cameroon 500-1,500 Unknown W-LD Yes Total Fair Benoue NP; Faro NP; Kalamaloue NP; Pangar-Djerem HR; L. Lagdo; L. Maga; Benoue River
C.A.R. 850 Declining RD-LA Yes Total Poor Andre Felix NP; Bamingui-Bangoran NP; Manovo-Gounda-Saint Floris NP; Yata- Ngaya FR; Gribingui FR; Koukourou FR; Lobaye River
Chad Stable RD No Partial Good Zakouma NP; Lake Iro, Lake Tchad, Chari River, Manda NP, Binder Lere FR; Loogone River
D.R.C. 2,000-4,000 Declining RD-HD Yes Partial Fair/Poor Garamba NP; Kundelungu NP; Salonga NP; Upemba NP; Virunga NP
Eq.Guinea 100 Unknown RD-LD No Total Poor NONE
Ethiopia 5,000 Stable W-LA No Total Unknown NO INFORMATION
Gabon 250 Declining? W-LD No Total Poor Wonga-Wongue NP; Moukalaba FR; Sette-Cama FR
Gambia 40 Declining? RD-LD Yes Total Fair Gambia River NP
Ghana 400-500 Declining? RD-LD Yes Total Good Bui NP.; Digya NP; Mole NP
Guinea 1,000-2,000 Declining W-LA Yes Total Good Badiar NP only during the wet season.; Haut Niger NP; other other tributarys of the Niger, like Niandan river/Kouya branch
Guinea Bissau 1,000-2,000 Declining? RD-LA Yes Total Unknown Organo Islands NP, Corubal River, Rio Cacheu NP
Ivory Coast 300-400 Declining RD-LD Yes Unknown Poor Marahoué NP; Mont Sangbé NP;River Sassandra mouth (close to Sassandra town); Comoé N
Kenya 5,000 Stable W-LA No Total Good Amboseli NP; Lake Nakuru NP; Meru NP; Nairobi NP; Tsavo NP; Buffalo Springs NR; Kora NR; Lake Bogoria NR; Masai Mara NR; Mwea NR; North Kitui NR; Samburu NR, Lake Victoria
Malawi 10,000 Stable W-LD No Partial Good Kasungu NP; Lake Malawi NP;Liwonde NP; Vwaza Marsh GR; Nkhotakota GR; Mwabvi GR
Mali <200 Unknown RD-LD Yes Unknown Unknown Boucle du Baoule NP
Mozambique 18,000 Declining W-LA Yes Partial Unknown Gorongosa NP; Limpopo NP; Gile GR.; Maputo GR; Marromeu GR; Niassa GR
Namibia ??? Unknown RD-LA Yes Total Good Mudumo NP.(?); Nkasa NP.; Western Caprivi GR.
Niger 100 Declining RD-LA Yes Total Fair "W" NP.
Nigeria 300 Declining RD-LD Yes Partial Fair Kainji Lake NP; Kwiambana GR; Sambisa GR; Yankari GR.
Rwanda 200-400 ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? Akagera NP
Senegal 500 Declining RD-LA Yes Total Poor Niokolo-Koba NP
Sierra Leone 100 Declining RD-LD Yes Total Poor Outamba-Kilimi NP; Tiwai GS
Somalia <50 Declining RD-LD Yes Unknown Poor Juba River, Scebele River
South Africa 3,000-5,000 Stable RD-LA No Total Excellent Kruger NP
Sudan 3,000-6,000 Unknown RD-LA No Total Fair Boma NP; Southern NP; Nimule NP;Badingeru GR; Fanyikango GR; Juba GR; Mongala GR; Shambe GR; Zeraf GR
Swaziland Unknown RD-LD Yes Total Good Mlilwane GS
Tanzania 20,000-30,000 Stable W-LA No Total Fair Arusha NP; Lake Manyara NP; Mikumi NP: Ruaha NP: Rubondo NP; Serengeti NP ; Taragire NP; Burigi GR; Biharamulo GR; Maswa GR; Selous GR; Moyowozi G.R; Ngorongoro CA
Togo 300-500 Unknown/Stable RD-LD No Total Good Keran NP; Togodo GR
Uganda 7,000 Declining W-LA Yes Total Poor Lake Mburu NP; Murchison Falls NP; Queen Elizabeth NP; Kyambura GR
Zambia 40,000 Increasing W-LA No Partial Fair Blue Lagoon NP; Kasanka NP; Kafue NP; Lochinvar NP; Lukusuzi NP; Lower Zambezi NP; Mosi-Oa-Tunya NP; Mweru-Wantipa NP; North Luangwa NP; Nsumbu NP; South Luangwa NP; West Lunga NP
Zimbabwe 7,000 Stable RD-LA No Partial Excellent Gonarexhou NP; Hwange NP; Mana Pools NP: Matusadona NP: Victoria Falls NP; Zambezi NP

Pygmy Hippos

The population of pygmy hippos is isolated to entirely within West Africa.  The range of this species has changed dramatically in the past 100 years, but most acutely in the past 30 years. Forests within the pygmy hippo's historical range have been steadily logged, farmed and settled.  Human development activities have caused the retreat of pygmy hippos into diminishing parcels of forest, which are becoming increasingly fragmented and insular. Years of civil unrest pose dangers to the pygmy hippo population.  The 1993 Action Plan estimated that there were approximately 2,000-3,000 individuals remaining . Subsequents reports of habitat loss and hunting suggest that the 1993 estimate may be high given current conditions.

Country Notes
Cote D'Ivoire The Republic of the Ivory Coast has lost most of its historical forest cover and is likely to be home to fragmented PH populations along its border with Liberia in the Fresco region; PH populations may occur in Mount Nimba Reserve, Tai National Park, N'Zo Forest Reserve, Taipleu For?t, Tatigbo Lagoon, and along the Dagbe, Bolo, and Niouniourou Rivers.
Guinea The Republic of Guinea contains fragmented pygmy hippo populations along the Liberian and Ivoirian border in the Reserve de Ziama, and the Dere Foret.
Liberia The largest PH populations are believed to be in the central and south-eastern Liberia, although population sizes are unknown. Liberian PH populations are believed to occur in Sapo National Park, the Cestos-Senkwehn Forests, Krahn-Bassa National Forest, Gbi National Forest, Grebo National Forest and in Grand Kru County.
Nigeria A distinct subspecies of pygmy hippos, Hexaprotodon liberiensis heslopi, was once discovered here.  There have been no confirmed sightings for decades, but there are still hopes a few may remain.
Sierra Leone Sightings of pygmy hippos in Sierra Leone have been scattered over a wide range of areas along the border it shares with Liberia.  The population in Sierra Leone is estimated at 80-100.