President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone is expected to back the plans to make the 75,000-hectare (185,000-acre) Gola Forest, the nation's second national park. This will protect at least 50 species of mammal, 2,000 different plants and 274 species of bird, 14 of which are close to extinction.
It is hoped that Gola, close to the Liberian border in the southeast of the country, will become the flagship site in a network of planned national parks. Six more are due to be established, to develop the tourist industry as the country recovers from its civil war of the 1990s.
The Gola project is being jointly funded by the European Commission, the French government, Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the US-based Conservation International.