Western Area Forest Reserve

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Coordinates: 8°20′26″N 13°9′28″W / 8.34056°N 13.15778°W / 8.34056; -13.15778

Western Area Forest Reserve, also known as the Western Area Peninsula Forest Reserve,[1][2] is a non-hunting forest reserve in Sierra Leone. The area became a forest reserve in 1916 and has an area of 17,688 hectares (68.29 sq mi).[2][3] It was demarcated by Charles Lane Poole, Sierra Leone's first ever 'Conservator of Forests,' and founder of the Sierra Leonean Forestry Department.[4] It is the westernmost semi-deciduous closed canopy forest in Sierra Leone.[2] The forest is home to various endangered species, including a wide variety of endangered birds[5] and Duiker.[6]

Despite its protected status, the reserve has suffered from continuous deforestation, predominantly due to urban encroachment and related activities, a trend only exasperated by the civil war.[7]

A detailed deforestation study with a subsequent re-demarcation proposal has been conducted by the WAPFoR project.[8] Results have been presented to the Government of Sierra Leone.[9]

There have been proposals to upgrade the reserve's status to a national park,[1][10] and it is listed on some maps as the "Western Area National Park". Its status appears to remain "proposed".[11] The Government of Sierra Leone has published the "Statutory Instrument, Supplement to the Sierra Leone Gazette Vol. CXLIII, No.69 dated 29 November 2012, Proclamation For the Constitution of the Western Area Peninsula National Park" [12] (available in hardcopy only in the Government Bookshop Freetown) according to the boundaries defined by the WAPFoR Project.[8] Furthermore UNESCO has accepted the Western Area Peninsula National Park’s application as tentative site as UNESCO World Heritage [13] together with Tiwai Island and Gola Forest National Park.

Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary[edit]

The Reserve is home to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary which was founded in 1995[14] by Bala Amarasekaran, seven years after he and his wife Sharmila saw a baby chimpanzee for sale by the roadside north of the capital Freetown. The couple bought the chimpanzee for $30 and soon discovered that many other chimpanzees are kept as pets and often mistreated. The sanctuary cares for these abused, orphaned and abandoned animals and offers them a new home, and as capacity becomes stretched, also educates among Sierra Leoneans about protecting chimpanzees in the wild. More than 2,000 local rural school children visit the 100 acres (40 ha) site every year.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b United Nations Development Programme
  2. ^ a b c World Wildlife Fund, [1]
  3. ^ World Database on Protected Areas: Information Sheet, UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, retrieved on 9 November 2007
  4. ^ Dargavel, John (2008) The zealous conservator: a life of Charles Lane Poole, University of Western Australia Press
  5. ^ Bird Life International
  6. ^ Rod East, Part 3 of Antelopes: Global Survey and Regional Action Plans, 1990, page 45. ISBN 2-8317-0016-7
  7. ^ Munro, P.G. (2009). "Deforestation: constructing problems and solutions on Sierra Leone's Freetown Peninsula" (PDF). Journal of Political Ecology. 16: 104–122. ISSN 1073-0451. Retrieved 16 June 2011. 
  8. ^ a b [2]
  9. ^ [3]
  10. ^ United Nations Development Programme, Protected Areas.org
  11. ^ World Database on Protected Areas
  12. ^ [4]
  13. ^ [5]
  14. ^ The Sanctuary Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary (2007), retrieved on 9 November 2007
  15. ^ Manson, Katrina (June 2010). "Playing Safe". The Voyager (BMI magazine). Retrieved 12 May 2010. 

External links[edit]