The Orango National Park (PNO) is located in the south of the Bolama Bijagos archipelago in Guinea Bissau, of which it represents one of the central zones of the Biosphere Reserve. It was created in 2000 and stretches over 158,235 ha, including a maritime zone of 132,200 ha and a wide expanse of mangrove over some 16,000 ha. The Park encompasses 5 inhabited islets (Orango, Orangozinho, Meneque, Canogo and Imbone) and 3 islets (Adonga, Canoupa and Anhatibe) that do not have a permanent human presence. The land part is dominated by palm trees (Elaeis guineensis), a littoral shrubby savanna and intertidal sandbanks.
Objectives of the park’s creation
Protecting and enhancing the ecosystems, ensuring the preservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources for the social and economic promotion of the populations.
Representative habitats and ecosystems
Apart from the mangrove ecosystem, the PNO Park is crossed by lagoons, whereas the land part is dominated by savannas and palm groves.
PNO presents the highest level of biodiversity in the entire Bijagos archipelago. The wildlife is very diversified and abundant, particularly in the southern part where populations of hippopotami (Hippopotamus amphibious) and Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) and dwarf crocodiles (Crocodylus tetraspis) are the most important in the archipelago. The Park is also visited by 5 species of sea turtles: the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), the olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) and the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). There are other important wildlife species such as the humpback dolphin (Sousa teuzsii) and the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncates), the bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) and the vervet monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops). The Park is rich in varieties of fish and invertebrates, many of which have a commercial value. Concerning the bird fauna, the PNO Park is of international relevance for colonies of migratory and Afro-tropical birds. The Park is also a major habitat for the African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus), a rare species endangered within the sub region.
Cultural values and economic activities
Shifting agriculture, shellfish collection, subsistence and sport fishing, and ecotourism are the main activities occupying the populations residing in the area. There are also some very strong links between the culture of the Bijagos and nature conservation that materialize in the existence of sacred sites and traditional mechanisms regulating the acess to, and exploitation of the resources.