The Bandia reserve is a part of the 10.418 ha ‘Forêt classée de Bandia‘. It is a flat area surrounded by the Golfaniel, Diass Palam, Sipane and Bandia hills. This flatland is intersected by the temporary water flow called Somone. Its two branches have a confluence at the level of the Nguékokh Bridge.
This area has a Sahel-Sudanese character were wild animals were once common such as the Golden jackal (Canis aureus) Spotted hyaena (Crocuta crocuta) or Common genette (Genetta genetta), further Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), Vervet monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops), Side-striped jackal (Canis adustus). Other common original species are the warthog (Phacochoerus africa-nus), Aardwark (Orycteropus afer) or the Patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas). The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) also occurred here but by the end of the 19th century it was extinct in the Dakar and Thi`es region. The West African giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis peralta) was extinct before the announcement of the Forêt classée de Bandia’ in 1933. According to the testimonies of hunters, villagers and Europeans living in this area the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) was also found in the Somone up until 1968. Even in 1975 pythons (Python sebae) and cobras (Naja nigricolis) were recorded here. The tortoise (Geochelone sulcata) was found here and in 2000 this area is described as the southern most border of its occurrence. An important part of the Bandia reserve is also its avifauna. 90 bird species have been recorded here (Al Ogoumrabe 2002); of the most significant genera we have observed francolins, glossy starlings, doves, hornbills, weaver birds and oxpeckers.
The ‘Forêt classée de Bandia‘ lost its significance as a territory with a conservation regime at the end of the 20th century as the vegetation and fauna are now in a very degraded state. For these reasons the territory has been fenced off and management of the important elements for landscape protection has been introduced. The surrounding tree savannah, thanks to excessive grazing of farm animals and tree felling, is receding to a grassy, anthropogenic formation. The enclosed territory is protected from these influences, which allows the original tree species to regenerate such as Acacia seyal and Tamarindus indica. The overall regeneration is easily visible at first glance. An important aspect of the Bandia reserve is also the increased awareness of the local inhabitants about the importance of nature protection and the economic potential of natural resources in Senegal. The Bandia reserve has initiated the participation of the private sector into protecting wild animals and this approach could open new ways for nature protection and creating places suitable for animal reproduction and subsequently as a source of wild animals for reintroducing the original animals into the uninhabited areas of Senegal.