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The RSPB launch their official Gola Rainforest Chocolate Bar

Posted on January 24, 2019 at 6:25 AM

This week the RSPB have launched their first official Gola Rainforest Chocolate Bars.

This is a product of years of hard work at all stages from the amazing Gola cocoa farmers up, but they are finally on the shelves.

We think they look great and we know they taste great too!

Currently they are only available from the RSPB's shops and online at

But we are hoping to get some out to Sierra Leone shortly.

Well done everyone who has been involved on this journey - it has been worth it!

Gola Rainforest bucking the trend for deforestation associated with cocoa in West Africa

Posted on December 17, 2018 at 9:55 AM

A new report out last week highlights that deforestation associated with cocoa production continues to be an issue in many parts of West Africa.

But Gola Rainforest is showcasing that there is another way, growing cocoa that works for the forest rather than against it.

Find out more from this new blog posted by our partners at Twin:

Thank you Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays!

Posted on October 31, 2018 at 12:05 AM

For the fifth year Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays has offset its clients’ airmiles with the Gola REDD Project. This amazing support goes to the project and helps to fund the amazing work that the 160 Sierra Leone staff carry out in forest and biodiversity conservation, management and community development.

This includes supporting the development needs of the local communities, across 122 communities, through annual school scholarships, agricultural extension and infrastructure support. You can learn about our cocoa work here:" target="_blank">

The project rangers carry out the exhausting and round the clock work of patrolling and protecting the forest and the science team carry out ongoing species monitoring and camera trapping (


International Day for Rural Women

Posted on October 15, 2018 at 11:40 AM

Today, the Gola Rainforest Project and our partners are acknowledging the International Day for Rural Women. It is a day initiated by the UN to recognise the crucial role women play in 'enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty'.

You can read more about how the Gola Rainforest Project is empowering women across the Gola landscape in these two blogs written by our partners, the RSPB and TWIN.

International Chocolate Day - what better excuse to eat Gola chocolate?

Posted on September 13, 2018 at 7:00 AM

The RSPB have been trying chocolate samples made from cocoa grown by our Gola communities. The unique and clean flavour of Gola cocoa is proving very popular. We look forward to seeing the final RSPB Gola Rainforest Chocolate bars early next year.

The value of camera trapping in the Gola Forest

Posted on September 3, 2018 at 7:10 AM

Check out a new blog by the RSPB where they talk about the value of camera trapping in the Gola forest.

Eat chocolate, save a rainforest

Posted on May 29, 2018 at 12:10 AM

A great and inspirational post from Birdlife International introducing the work of the Gola Cocoa project in Sierra Leone. Read more at" target="_blank">

Gola video in DieWelle Global Ideas

Posted on March 29, 2017 at 10:00 AM

A short film of Gola's work produced by DieWelle Global Ideas is now live. Somewhat misleading in the documentary as the footage of the mining was taken in a completely different part of the country, far from Gola. Our main driver for deforestation is slash/burn agriculture. And a correction, though we aspire to Gola cocoa being certifiied, it is not yet the case. See the movie here

New paper: Gola delivers conservation for Pygmy Hippos

Posted on March 27, 2017 at 10:30 AM

A new peer reviewed article was published this month in Oryx on work done in Gola, entitled 'A mix of community-based conservation and protected forests is needed for the survival of the Endangered pygmy hippopotamus Choeropsis liberiensis' by Hillers A. et al.

80.4 % of pygmy hippo signs were recorded outside protected areas. They were mainly along larger streams and swampy areas close to, but rarely within large intact forests. Our study highlights the importance of the unprotected community land for this Endangered species while maintaining a robust network of protected areas. Especially in Sierra Leone, the expansion of the protected area network is unrealistic and we conclude that community-based conservation activities are important for the survival of the pygmy hippopotamus.


At the Gola Rainforest National Park in Sierra Leone, the recommendation of this study has already been put in practice since early 2016, with the establishment of our Community Youth Conservation Volunteer Programme focusing on pygmy hippos and the White-necked Picathartes. The pygmy hippo programme is funded by Basel Zoo, Switzerland, that has sponsored all our pygmy hippo work since 2010.

New paper: Gola delivers conservation for Picathartes

Posted on November 21, 2016 at 10:45 AM

A new peer reviewed article was just accepted in BirdLife Conservation International, Burgess et al 2016 "The importance of protected and unprotected areas for colony occupancy and colony size in White-necked Picathartes Picathartes gymnocephalus in and around Gola Rainforest National Park, Sierra Leone".


Gola is of global importance to White-necked Picathartes. Monitoring of colonies over 8 years show mean colony occupation was consistently high in protected areas, and lower in unprotected areas. Active colony size declined overall, but declines were only significant in unprotected forest; colonies located within protected areas were buffered from significant decline.


Non-protected areas can remain important for species of conservation concern, even though occupancy and colony activity was reduced compared to protected areas. And efforts to

minimise colony disturbance and ensure continued occupancy, such as reducing forest clearance around existing colonies, the 4-km wide ’leakage belt’ under the Gola REDD project, and the new village mentoring and educational will all help.