PENDJARI - BENIN
Pendjari National Park in Benin and it’s surrounding larger wilderness eco-system is one of the largest remaining wildlife strongholds in West Africa. The park, which spans 4,800 km2, is becoming a safe haven for iconic species thanks to improved law enforcement and stability in the region. Pendjari’s expansive landscape contains important wetlands which are critical for many local species including West Africa’s largest population of elephant, cheetah, buffalo, and various antelope species. The park is home to more than 460 avian species and the critically endangered West African lion, of which fewer than 400 adults remain, and 100 live in Pendjari. Historically the park has faced major threats, including poaching, demographic pressure on surrounding land, and exponential resource use. But the Benin Government wanted to change this trajectory and chart a different path for this critically important landscape, with the aim of providing better protection for the people and wildlife who live there. By partnering with The African Parks Network, the National Geographic Society, the Wyss Foundation, and the Wildcat Foundation a lifeline has been thrown to this little-known but globally important protected area.