Tiwai is one of the last examples of what was once an ancient rainforest spreading across the whole of West Africa, and as a result it has retained a rich and exciting biodiversity that holds a great number of flora and fauna species endemic to the region.
Tiwai has one of the highest concentration and diversity of primates in the world, with 11 species co-existing in a 12sq/km area surrounded by a tropical river, The Moa. Some of the species are rare and endangered, such as the monkeys (black & white, red and olive) and the Diana monkey. There is also the possibility of seeing wild Chimpanzees in their natural habitat by venturing to the Southern tip of the island with a guide where the apes have a tendency to call home. These chimps, contrary to their cousins in East Africa use stones as hammers and tree roots as anvils to crack open hard nuts.
The rare and endemic pygmy hippopotamus is also a resident of Tiwai. This elusive animal is solitary and eats the swampy vegetation on land & in the river. It is only found in the Gola rainforest in Sierra Leone and in parts of Liberia. There is a possibility of stumbling upon one or two when on the guided forest walks or boat tours, however most guests have found that they see them when they least expect it.
There are also over 135 different bird species on the island, including 8 types of hornbills and the rare white breasted Guinea fowl, making Tiwai a birdwatchers paradise, especially with the opportunities for ‘gallery’ birdwatching on a boat, and accompanied by one of our knowledgeable local guides.
Tiwai also hosts a great number of rare mammals such as a variety of Duiker (a small deer) species, the Bongo, the red-river hog, the Pangolin, and it has even been reported that a leopard has been seen by local community members crossing the island.