TCOP has a total of 46 patrol officers stationed across Sierra Leone – 9 in the Western Area, 21 in Loma Mountains National Park, 6 in Jaibui Island and 10 in Mobondah. These officers are actively engaged forest protection and wildlife monitoring, which leads to their regular naming as eco-guards.
The eco-guards are taught to used SMART (a wildlife monitoring application) and Gaia GPS to record signs of wildlife and illegal human activity. The information collected is transferred to the Tacugama office in Freetown and used to generate monthly reports that are subsequently shared with the National Protected Area Authority.
The importance of having a system of eco-guards throughout the country is evident by the fact that it is often the eco-guards who provide intelligence to carry out chimpanzee rescue missions, and their knowledge of the terrain, signs and trails means they are perfect participants to carry out field work for chimpanzee census or camera-trap surveys.