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WCS Congo blog | Hippos in the rainforest
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Hippos in the rainforest

A team of 6 six rangers congregated in the Joint Operations Centre at Bomassa Park HQ. Maps and photos taken during patrol flickered across the monitor screen as Christian Molango, the patrol leader, detailed what they encountered as they scouted along the banks of the Ndoki river. Then, something unusual caught everyone’s attention – a pair of hippos appeared on the screen.

The team of Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park rangers had come across a rare sighting for the lowland rainforests of Central Africa; two hippos (Hippopotamus amphibious) wading in a black-watered forest river, deep in the Ndoki forest. Although the presence of hippos is known in the area (near Bayanga in CAR for example), direct observation is rare. To our knowledge this is the first photo evidence of hippos within the borders of Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park.

Christian Molango, who took these hippo photos, has been working as a ranger in the Park for the past two years. Rangers in Ndoki can spend up to three weeks at a time out on patrol, sometimes venturing into the deepest corners of the park. Unsurprisingly, patrols often encounter a wide range of forest biodiversity.

Although the presence of hippos is known in the area (near Bayanga in CAR for example), direct observation is rare. To our knowledge this is the first photo evidence of hippos within the borders of Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park.

Ranger teams are now equipped with waterproof 12MP cameras, primarily to assist with evidence collection at poaching incidents and camps, but an additional value is that some fantastic wildlife photos are coming back with the teams after patrols.

Christian Molango (center), the ranger who captured these hippo images, in the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park anti-poaching control room.

In this vast forest, endless discoveries lie dormant; undescribed plants, uncontacted chimpanzee communities and secret forest clearings. Where large areas of the expansive green are rarely visited – anyone can be an explorer.

Ecoguard equipment in Nouabale-Ndoki National Park has been purchased with support from USAID, USFWS, WildCat Foundation, Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation, and Elephant Crisis Fund.

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