most large game animals such as elephants have been
hunted to extinction a long time ago hippos can be found
in the protected area of the River
Gambia National Park. The country has a diverse
bird population which is unusual for its size. Over
560 species of birds
have been recorded in this tiny West African state.
The mammals which are most often seen are baboons and
monkeys. The species of monkey to be found are the western
red colobus, patas and the callithrix.
There are also small antelopes such as the Maxwell's
duiker, sitatunga and bushbucks.
the animals to be found in Gambia include aardvarks,
hyena, Nile crocodiles, warthogs, bushpigs, monitor
lizards, chameleons, geckos, puff adders, spitting cobras
and green mambas. Bottle nose dolphins can be seen near
the entrance to the river
from the Atlantic Ocean.
biodiversity of Gambian animals forms an important component
of the country’s biological assets from both economic
and ecological points. Recent field studies of wildlife
species report 117 species of mammals, 30 species of
amphibians and 47 species of reptiles making a total
of 194 species of wild animals in Gambia. Over five
hundred and fifty species of birds have been recorded
as of 2006. There are 6 wildlife Protected Areas (WPAs),
occupying a total land area of 3.5% or 37,772 of the
total land area of The Gambia. Wetlands, which include
marine, inland waters, coastal,
seasonal fresh water ponds, mangroves and marsh areas
are distributed countrywide and make up around 20% of
the total land area. Bao
Bolong wetland reserve, the biggest protected area
and the first Ramsar site measures approximately 22,000
elephant, which used to be the country’s national emblem,
was last spotted and shot back in 1913. The record trophy
of the Giant Eland was shot in 1903.
The buffoon kob which used to be a common species in
The Gambia has long since become extinct, together with
other species like the backed duiker, lion, red
river hog, korrigum and the topi. The West African
Manatee and the Sitatunga are in danger of extinction.
There are 117 species of mammals, 30 species of amphibians
and 47 species of reptiles making a total of 194
species of wild animals in The Gambia. However, these
figures are mainly estimates and the true numbers might
be higher if more thorough investigations are taken.
However, like all other natural resources, certain fish
species are threatened as a result of unsound human
exploitation strategies, such species include the lobster
(palinurus spp shark, (catfish arius heudeloti) and
the white grouper (Epinephelus aetheus) to name but
The Gambia is endowed with a rich avifauna estimated
at 1 bird species every 21.0 km2. It has no epidemics
and only 2 species - the puff-back shrike (Dryoscopus
gambensis) and spur winged Goose (plectropterus gambensis)
bear its specific epithet.
The components of biodiversity are ecosystem, species
and genetic diversity. From the point of view of The
Gambia, biodiversity is not restricted to the wild fauna
and flora and associated ecosystems but, it embraces
the rich of biological diversity found in our domestic
species. This includes varieties of crops
and domestic animals that have been bred and developed
for thousands of years by farmers engaged in agriculture.
About 100 years ago water buck, kob, and hartebeest
occasionally in their season could be observed in Gambia.
The smaller antelopes have not significantly decreased
in numbers during this period probably due to the size
of the human population.
There were always a few leopards living in Gambia, but
they were rarely killed and hyenas in certain locations
became very bold and more troublesome, frequently killing
cattle quite close to settlements. However, this apparent
stable and healthy wild animal populations status was
not a recipe for inaction.
However, legal measures regulating the management and
exploitation of wild animals were put in place.
Specifically, regulations were made under section III
of "The wild animal, Birds & Fish Preservation
Camelopardalis Peratta, Hippopotamus Amphibious, Congo
Buffalo, Senegambian Buffalo, Red River Hog, West African
Eland, West African Hartebeest, Korrigum Hartebeest,
Red Flanked Duiker, Maxwell’s Duiker, Growned Duiker,
Gambian Oribi, Waterbuck, Buffoons Kob, Nagor Reedbok,
Roan antelope, West African Sitatunga, Worthog.
The bubal hartebeest, Roan Antelope, and the water-buck
are currently rare visitors from neighboring Senegal.
Unfortunately, whenever any of these animals cross into
The Gambia, local hunters pursue them until they are
either forced to move back or shot.
Out of the 117 species of animals known to have existed
in The Gambia about 13 have become extinct, and a similar
number is threatened with extinction.
Egrets, Bustards, Francolins (Bush fowls) Grouse, Quail
and Crown Birds (Crested Cranes), Guinea Fowls.
Marabou storks are protected by native customs in the
neighbourhood of all Muslim towns and villages, and
it is in trees standing in the town in which they nest
in the Gambia. Storks are also protected during the
breeding season or rather during the rains.
rare bird which is much sought after by poachers for
its skin is the Golden Cuckoo of Foni and other forest
areas. The rising human population mixed with local
food production practices, have led to the loss of a
large part of The Gambia's forest
cover as well as animal wildlife.