The pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and is one of the least studied of Africa's charismatic, endangered fauna. Continuing population declines are due to habitat loss and degradation, industrial agriculture, logging, mining and an ever-expanding human population. Though this species is listed as Integrally Protected in national legislation in all its range states, wildlife laws are often only weakly enforced and are inadequate in protecting the few remaining pygmy hippo populations and their habitat. Of equal threat is that very little is known about wild pygmy hippo basic biology, physiology, ecology and life history. Current range-wide population estimates are unreliable at best, and rigorous methods to accurately monitor population trends have not yet been developed and/or utilized consistently throughout its range. This knowledge deficit hinders the implementation of informed and adaptive conservation programs.
We are implementing the most comprehensive study of wild pygmy hippo to date, producing the necessary ecological, health and abundance data to support the implementation of in and ex situ conservation action. Through this project, we are building national capacity for biodiversity conservation by training Ivorian graduate students as conservation scientists and in raising awareness for pygmy hippos both with local communities and extractive industries.
We are working as part of an international collaboration to overcome the knowledge deficit hindering targeted pygmy hippo management and recovery actions. Our integrated approach to species conservation is the first giant step toward a secure future for the enigmatic and Endangered pygmy hippo.
Find more information on the Project Mecistops website.