The site is located about 50 km north of the city of Bobo-Dioulasso in the upper Mouhoun valley. The Mare aux Hippopotames is, in the rainy season, a 600 ha lake within a classified forest. At the end of the dry season the lake is reduced to about 120 ha and is covered with dense aquatic vegetation, while the exposed flood-plain supplies fodder for the lake’s hippopotamus herd. A further 864 ha of flood-plain occur along other lines of drainage. The remainder of the reserve comprises some 1,756 ha of gallery forest and 11,000 ha of savanna woodland.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. Although, to date, 243 species have been recorded at the site, including many waterbird species, more surveys are required, particularly of the gallery forest and woodlands. Several species little recorded elsewhere in Burkina occur, including Microparra capensis, Treron australis and Apaloderma narina.
Non-bird biodiversity: In addition to Hippopotamus amphibius, Loxodonta africana (EN) occur seasonally at the site and in the nearby Maro Classified Forest. Cephalophus rufilatus (LR/cd), uncommon in Burkina, is present.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1977 and a Ramsar Site in 1990. Human pressure is intensifying about the site and, up until the early 1990s, illegal cutting of wood, grazing and poaching had a serious impact. Currently, the site is part of the Programme for Village Territory Management (PNGT) and, as such, is the subject of studies and dialogue with the surrounding communities seeking to establish rational resource management.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mare aux Hippopotames. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 04/08/2020.