National Parks: Tai National Park

by Maimouna Kante

Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire is located on the western coast of the country, close to Guinea and Liberia. According to UNESCO, the park’s rich flora and fauna represent one of the last primary forests of West Africa. Its fauna is currently threatened by poachers and the flora is experiencing deforestation.  

The park covers a surface area of 3,300km2 not including a buffer zone. It is located between two main rivers: the Cavally and Sassandra Rivers. The park, like many other parks in West Africa, experiences two distinct seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.

This primary forest is known for its 11 species of primates. Most importantly, it is known for its chimpanzee population. People come from all over the world to see these chimpanzees. According to the National Geographic, archeologists found a site where chimpanzees were using tools to crack nuts. Even though the site was discovered a couple years ago, it is considered to be a place that will bring archeologists to reconsider when exactly tool use started.

The Taï National Park’s chimpanzees learn how to crack nuts in seven years from their mothers. They have behaviors that humans thought were endemic to the homo sapiens yet they discovered another primate that has the same skills.

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