Îles Ehotilés National Park
|Îles Ehotilés National Park|
|Established||25 April 1974|
|Official name||Iles Ehotilé-Essouman|
|Designated||18 October 2005|
Îles Ehotilés National Park is a national park in the Sud-Comoé region of Ivory Coast. The park consists of a group of low islands and the intervening channels which separate Aby Lagoon from the Atlantic Ocean. The national park was established in 1974 on the initiative of the local communities.
The archipelago consists a set of six islands (Assokomonobaha, Balouate, Meha, Nyamouan, Elouamin and the sacred island Bosson Assoun) located in the estuarine area. This archipelago covers an area of 722 hectares (1,780 acres), not including the surrounding sea area.
The vegetation of the islands is very varied for such a small area; the coastal zone is mostly dominated by mangroves, and the interior is largely tropical forest with a dense understorey. 128 species of bird in 35 families have been recorded here. Most of these are aquatic species, and in the dry season migratory species also visit the park. Resident species include little grebe, African darter, reed cormorant, cattle egret, squacco heron, striated heron, western reef heron, black-crowned night heron, woolly-necked stork and white-faced whistling duck.
The park is also home to mammals typically inhabiting forest zones, such as duikers and bushpigs, as well as two species that give the park its uniqueness. One of these is the manatee, an aquatic mammal characteristic of the Ivorian lagoons, which is globally threatened with extinction; the other is the colony of straw-coloured fruit bats which roosts on Balouate Island, the local people believing these animals to be a sign of the presence of their ancestors. Additionally, there are a great variety of other bats, and the islands are home to the spotted-necked otter and the African clawless otter. The archaeological and historical sites on the islands are also protected.
The Ehotile Islands were designated a Ramsar site in 2005 under the name Iles Ehotilé-Essouman, and a proposal was submitted to UNESCO for consideration of the site as a possible World Heritage Site in 2006.
The population bordering the park is divided between 21 villages and is officially estimated at 32,103 people, or 32% of the total population of the department. Tourism is the only occupation permitted on the islands and fishing is the main activity outside the protected area.
- "Iles Ehotilé-Essouman". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
- Hughes, R. H.; Hughes, J. S. (1992). A directory of African wetlands. IUCN. p. 346. ISBN 2-88032-949-3.
- "Parc national des îles Ehotilé" (in French). Office Ivoirien des Parcs et Réserves. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
- "Parc national des îles Ehotilé" (in French). UNESCO. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
- "Côte d'Ivoire: Iles Ehotilé-Essouman" (PDF). Fiche descriptive Ramsar (in French). Ramsar. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2019.