BAO BOLONG WETLAND RESERVE
 
 

Bao Bolong is located on the North Bank of The Gambia River opposite the Kiang West National Park. It consists of six major bolons between Salikeni and Katchang. Together these bolongs form a vast wetland complex of international importance. Bao Bolon does not have the characteristics of a river any more. It is a valley which stretches over a length of more than 140km from the border towards the river Gambia. 

The area has been nominated for designation as a Ramsar  site with a total  area of  22,000 ha. The significance of Bao Balon lies in the fact that three distinct ecosystems - mangrove forest, salt marsh and savannah woodland - all occur in very close proximity at several locations. Bao Bolon's mangrove ecosystem provides an important fish breeding ground and its tributaries are important source of fish. Local communities also obtain fencing and roofing materials from the area.

Bao Bolon provides a refuge for a number of The Gambia's rarer birds. Within the mangrove forest, Pels fishing owl can occasionally be encountered roosting silently while brown-necked parrots chatter noisily through the canopy. The African fish eagle and osprey both fish in the River Gambia and the network of bolons. Finfoots have been recorded quite frequently and the white-backed night heron is resident if somewhat elusive. The tidally flooded marshes and pans are frequented by a variety of herons, ibis, waders and waterfowl, with numbers seasonally augmented by European and African migrants. The reed-beds on the upper bolon are used for roosting by mixed flocks of passerine birds, as well as providing feeding and breeding habitat for various waterbirds. Bao Bolong Wetlands also form the major habitat for a number of our rarer mammals, including hippopotamus, manatee, clawless otter and sitatunga as well as reptiles such as the Nile and dwarf crocodiles, various chelonians and snakes. 

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