UNESCO World Heritage Mont Nimba: Mapping for Animal Welfare
In the Guinean UNESCO World Heritage Site Mont Nimba, the Reserve Office used the #SOSAfricanHeritage funds for anti-poaching patrols, information campaigns, and mapping of ape habitats.
The aim of #SOSAfricanHeritage is to contribute to preserving independent and sustainable organisational structures at African World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves with the participation of civil society as well as to secure spaces dedicated to education for global citizenship, sustainability and cultural diversity.
As a veritable "water tower" with some fifty springs between Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea, the "Mont Nimba" nature reserve is dominated by a mountain range with its peak Mount Nimba reaching 1.752m above sea levels. The slopes, which are covered with dense forest and grassy mountain pastures on the lower levels feature a particularly rich endemic flora and fauna. The area covers a total surface of 17.540ha, thereof 12.540ha in Guinea and 5.000ha in Côte d'Ivoire.
This World Heritage Site, which is also listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is home to endemic and diverse species of the most remarkable animal and plant populations, not only in West Africa but throughout the African continent; in particular, endangered species such as the micropotamogal of Mount Nimba, the viviparous toad of Mount Nimba, and chimpanzees that use stones as tools.
Restrictions due to the pandemic
Since the emergence of the novel coronavirus, no cases have been reported at Mont Nimba in the prefecture of Lola and in the forest region (as of August 2020). The management of the Biosphere Reserve has so far been maintained. Surveillance patrols and assistance to the local communities through the Gef-Mano project will continue. However, the massif has been under threat for decades due to increased pressure from demographic growth. Although the natural forests covering the slopes of the Nimba massif have not suffered much damage, the fauna has been severely affected by poaching. The World Heritage Site has therefore been placed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger since 1992.
Remedy through patrols, data and awareness raising
The project, supported by the German Commission for UNESCO, strengthened the overall conservation activities in the biosphere reserve. Intensified anti-poaching and search patrols led to the detection of three poachers and 150 cable traps. The partly cross-border patrols also improved the cooperation between the institutions responsible for the transboundary protected area in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. Employees of the park administration were also trained in wildlife monitoring. They are now able to use GPS devices to create surveillance maps for the sighting of apes. This allows them, for example, to better identify particularly important patrol routes.
Another part of the project was the creation of firebreaks in the biosphere reserve to prevent the rapid spread of bushfires. The biosphere reserve office organised information campaigns in neighbouring villages as well. These campaigns sensitised the local population for the fight against bush fires, and for issues such as poaching, logging and charcoal production. As a consequence, a decrease in fires was noticeable already during the project period.
On the initiative of the Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, an International Relief Fund was set up in summer 2020 to provide rapid support to cultural and educational organisations abroad during the COVID-19-Pandemic. With its special support programme #SOSAfricanHeritage, the German Commission for UNESCO is part of the Relief Fund consortium.
- Site: Mont Nimba
- Country: Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire
- Type of Site: UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage (natural heritage)
- Year of inscription Biosphere Reserve: 1980
- Year of inscription World Natural Heritage: 1982