Azagny National Park is situated 100 km due west of Abidjan, at the western end of the Ebrié lagoon, separated from the beach by the canal that links the lagoon with the Bandama river, which forms the western boundary of the site, and adjacent to the town of Grand Lahou. The vegetation of the park is varied and mostly comprises swamps of various types which cover two-thirds of the park, swamp-forest, in which Raphia palms are common, inundated riverine forest, relatively small amounts of moist evergreen forest on areas of higher ground, mangrove (principally Rhizophora racemosa and Avicennia africana) and, depending upon water-level, some limited areas of mudflat fringing the lagoon and canal. There is also some littoral savanna woodland in which the palm Borassus aethiopum is a conspicuous element. Average annual rainfall is 1,650 mm.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. A total of 162 species have been recorded, but this figure will undoubtedly increase with further exploration. The number of true forest species is somewhat restricted by the limited amount of forest on dry land. It does, however, hold some species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome such as Ploceus aurantius, Nectarinia fuliginosa and N. reichenbachii which are restricted to coastal vegetation and mangroves. Given the habitat, the site is likely to be important for Scotopelia ussheri which is believed to occur. The site holds a diversity of waterbirds which seasonally include Palearctic migrant waders on the mudflats.
Non-bird biodiversity: Azagny was originally created a protected area in part for the conservation of Loxodonta africana cyclotis (EN) and Syncerus caffer (LR/cd), both of which occur in good numbers, benefiting from the protection of the swamps. Other mammals of global conservation concern include Pan trogolodytes verus (EN), Procolobus verus (EN), Colobus vellerosus (VU), Cercocebus atys lunulatus (EN), Cercopithecus diana roloway (EN), Hexaprotodon l. liberiensis (VU) at the eastern extremity of its range, Hyemoschus aquaticus (LR/nt), Tragelaphus euryceros (LR/nt), Cephalophus maxwellii (LR/nt), C. rufilatus (LR/cd), C. niger (LR/nt), C. sylvicultor (LR/nt), C. dorsalis (LR/nt) and Neotragus pygmaeus (LR/nt); Trichechus senegalensis (VU) occurs in the waters of the lagoon. The crocodile Crocodylus cataphractus (DD) also occurs.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Azagny was declared a National Park in 1981 and designated a Ramsar Site in 1996. It has suffered from agricultural encroachment from along its northern border. Poaching of mammals is widespread within the park, such that numbers of arboreal monkeys, in particular, are much reduced. Illegal fishing is also widespread and there is much cutting of wood for fuel for smoke-drying fish. Overflying of the park at low altitude by planes from Abdijan looking for elephant and buffalo can cause severe disturbance.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Azagny National Park. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 08/02/2023.