This park is one of the last major remnants of the primary tropical forest of West Africa. Its rich natural flora, and threatened mammal species such as the pygmy hippopotamus and 11 species of monkeys, are of great scientific interest.
This park is one of the last major remnants of the primary tropical forest of West Africa. Its rich natural flora, and threatened mammal species such as the pygmy hippopotamus and 11 species of monkey, are of great scientific interest.
The park lies in south-west Côte d'Ivoire about 200 km south of Man and 100 km from the coast, between the Cavally River (which marks the western border with Liberia) and the Sassandra River on the east. It comprises an ancient sloping granitic peneplain. This is broken by several inselbergs formed from volcanic intrusions, including the Niénkoué Hills in the south. The park is one of the last remaining portions of the vast primary forest that once stretched across present-day Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and is the largest island of forest remaining in West Africa. There is a gradation from north to south, with the southern third of the park being the moistest and richest area, especially of leguminous trees. This humid tropical forest has a high level of endemism.
The park contains some 1,300 species of higher plants of which 54% occur only in the Guinea zone. Vegetation is predominantly dense evergreen ombrophilous forest of a Guinean type characterized by tall trees (40-60 m) with massive trunks and sometimes large buttresses or stilt roots. Large numbers of epiphytes and lianes form an important element in the lower horizons. Two types of forest can be recognized: the poorer soils of the north and south-east; and the 'Sassandrian' forest in the south-west, dominated by water-demanding species with numerous endemic species, especially in the lower Cavally Valley and the Meno and Hana depressions near Mont Niénokoué. Plants thought to be extinct, such as Amorphophallus staudtii , have been discovered in the area.
The fauna is fairly typical of West African forests and the park contains 47 of the 54 species of large mammal known to occur in Guinean rainforest including five threatened species. Mammals include the mona monkey, white-nosed monkey and diana monkey, black and white colobus, red colobus and green colobus, sooty mangabey, chimpanzee, of which there are 2,000-2,800 in Taï, giant pangolin, tree pangolin and long-tailed pangolin, golden cat, leopard, elephant, bushpig, giant forest hog, pygmy hippopotamus, water chevrotain, bongo, buffalo and an exceptional variety of forest duikers. Over 230 bird species have been recorded, 143 typical of primary forest. Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Declared as a 'Forest and Wildlife Refuge' in 1926 by the French administration. National park status on 28 August 1972 by Presidential Decree 75-545. Reduced by 20,000ha ('Reserve de faune du N'Zo') on 21 March 1973 by Decree 73-132. Redefined by Special Decree 77-348 of 3 June 1977, which added a 20,000ha buffer zone around the park. The area was part of a ‘forêt classée' under a decree of 16 April 1926, then part of a 425,000ha réserve de faune under a decree of 7 August 1956. Accepted in April 1978 as a biosphere reserve and in 1982 as a World Heritage site. In November 1984 it was included in the IUCN list of eleven most threatened areas. Source: Advisory Body Evaluation