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BAO BOLONG WETLAND RESERVE

General characteristics
The Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve was founded in 1996 and stretches over 22.000 ha. It has, since 1996, been registered on the list of wetlands of international importance of the Ramsar Convention. Composed of six main bolongs, the Reserve is located on the left bank of the Gambia River and is named after the Bao Bolong River, an estuary of the Gambia River.

Objectives of the Reserve creation
Conservation of the marine and coastal biodiversity, with the involvement of the local communities and the strengthening of their capacities, and the promotion of alternative money-generating activities.


Representative habitats and ecosystems 


The Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve hosts various habitats; three main ecosystems are represented: mangroves, mudfalts and savanna. The mangroves represent an important site for the reproduction of many fish species.

Main species
The site adjoins another protected area, the Kiang Park, located on the opposite bank of the Gambia River. This area is visited by many mammal species, notably the hippopotami (Hippopotamis amphibious), the manatees Trichechus snegalensis, the African clawless otter (Aonyx capensis) and the Sitatunga or marshbuck (Tragelaphus spekii). Two crocodile species are also present in the Reserve: the Nile crocodile
(Crocodylus niloticus) and the dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis). Moreover, Bao Bolong hosts some 268 bird species.


Cultural values and economic activities 


The Bao Bolong Reserve hosts secrete sanctuaries and sites of landmark cultural importance, notably as part of initiation rites. The main economic activities are rice production, fishing, straw exploitation, horticulture and ecotourism.

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