Marahoué is situated in south-central Côte d’Ivoire, immediately west of the town of Bouaflé. The Marahoué or Bandama Rouge river forms part of the eastern boundary of the park, but flows through its northern section. Part of the south-western boundary is formed by the main Yamassoukro–Daloa road. The terrain consists of a series of hills and valleys. The park is located on the ecotone between the forest zone and savanna woodland. It is therefore a mosaic of gallery forest and semi-deciduous forest patches, in which tree species such as Triplochiton scleroxylon, Celtis spp., Khaya grandifolia, Erythrophleum ivorense and Terminalia superba commonly occur and, particularly in the eastern half, savanna woodland, where Diospyros mespiliformis, Afzelia africana, Lophira lanceolata and Daniellia oliveri are common. The Marahoué river and a number of pools provide a variety of wetland habitats. Average annual rainfall is 1,100 mm.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. A total of 287 species has been reported, reflecting the wide variety of habitat-types. In addition, Agelastes meleagrides has been reported to occur, but this needs confirmation. This is one of only two IBAs in the country at which Coccycolius iris is known to occur. The recent discoveries of Melignomon eisentrauti and Merops breweri are of considerable interest.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals of conservation concern include Pan troglodytes verus (EN), Piliocolobus badius (VU), Loxodonta africana africana (EN) (100–150 individuals), Syncerus caffer (LR/cd), Tragelaphus euryceros (LR/nt) Cephalophus maxwellii (LR/nt), C. rufilatus (LR/cd), C. sylvicultor (LR/nt), C. dorsalis (LR/nt), Kobus kob kob (LR/cd), Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa (LR/cd) and Alcelaphus buselaphus major (LR/cd).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Marahoué was created a National Park in 1968. Agricultural encroachment (including fires to clear land) and illegal logging have resulted in the destruction or heavy degradation of the vegetation across about a quarter of the park. Poaching is a serious and widespread problem such that numbers of antelope and primates in particular are now much reduced. Pesticide pollution has affected some of the marshes. Attempts are currently being made to address these issues; a technical assistance project, as part of the nationwide multi-donor programme to improve protected area management, is being executed in Marahoué by Conservation International, with funding from the European Union.