Introduction
Kiang West National ParkTanji/Karinti Bird ReserveBao Bolon Wetland Reserve
Abuko Nature ReserveRiver Gambia National ParkNiumi National Park


Protected Areas in The Gambia
INTRODUCTION

Background
The first protected area to be established in The Gambia was Abuko Nature Reserve, which was gazetted in 1968. This prompted the government to set up a Wildlife Conservation Unit under the auspices of the Department of Forestry. This action demonstrated The Gambia’s commitment to wildlife conservation and management. Since then, a further 5 areas around the country have been gazetted as protected due to the unique or endangered nature of the biodiversity they contain. This brochure is intended to provide the reader with an overview of the six parks and reserves in the country as well as giving information on habitat types, fauna and avi-fauna found in The Gambia.

The Department of Parks & Wildlife Management
Due to a growing awareness about the importance of conserving what remained of our flora and fauna, the Wildlife Conservation Unit was upgraded into a government department (Wildlife Conservation Department) in 1977. The name of the department was changed in 1994 to the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management to reflect its widening role into wildlife management as well as conservation. As well as being accountable for the management, administration and development of The Gambia's six national parks and reserves, the department also handles all matters relating to wildlife conservation and management. This includes the enforcement of the 1977 Wildlife Act which prohibits the sale of wildlife products and the keeping of wild animals in captivity (see pages 2 and 3 for more information). The department also controls and monitors hunting activity in the country.

The Importance of Protected Areas
Of the 67 species of mammals known to have occurred in The Gambia, 13 have become extinct, and a similar number are threatened with extinction. The increasing human population, coupled with agricultural production practices which do not take into account conservation, have led to the loss of a large proportion of The Gambia's forest cover together with many of our wildlife species. For this reason the government has taken initiatives over the years to designate certain areas with protected status.

To date, protected areas comprise more than 3% of the total area of The Gambia. (The latest wildlife policy aims at increasing this to 5% with a proportional regional distibution). The parks and reserves of The Gambia have been specially chosen for the endangered nature of the habitat type and/or species found within them. The intention is to provide a safe haven for flora and fauna to flourish without undue interference from man. A limited range of resource utilisation by local communities is permitted provided this is compatible with the aims and objectives of the protected area concerned.


Introduction
Kiang West National ParkTanji/Karinti Bird ReserveBao Bolon Wetland Reserve
Abuko Nature ReserveRiver Gambia National ParkNiumi National Park