The GRNP is Sierra Leones largest tract of Rainforest, and covers 71,070 hectares in the east of the country. Recent biological surveys show that the Forest is home to more than 330 species of bird, 14 of which are threatened, over 650 species of butterfly, 49 species of mammals including a population of 300+ chimpanzees, pygmy hippopotamus and a much dwindled forest elephant population. See the Gola Forest Programme website for more information.
The Forest has been commercially exploited in the past with over 20,000 hectares being logged between the 1960s and 1980s and has recently been under pressure for the exploitation or Diamonds, Gola and Iron ore and was subject to a recent report by Global Witness. However since the 1990s the forest has been the subject of a conservation project to protect the forest for the long term whilst ensuring the involvement and livelihood improvement of forest edge communities. The project is a collaboration between the Government of Sierra Leone, the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. A similar action has also been instituted across the Liberia border in the Liberian Gola Forest Community since the two communities share similar culture and people as well as animal and plant species.