African Parks assumed management of Pendjari National Park, Benin, in 2017 to revitalise the park and create a thriving wildlife destination. Pendjari Complex, with an area of 4,800 km2, forms part of the W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) complex which spans Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger, and is the largest remaining intact natural ecosystem in the whole of West Africa.

Pendjari is home to iconic species including elephant, the Critically Endangered Northwest African cheetah and West African lion, buffalo, antelope and a host of other wildlife, including a rich diversity of small mammals, fish species, and more than 400 bird species. Pendjari is one of the last strongholds for elephants in West Africa, although poaching has been on the rise since 2010 and is a key threat wildlife.

Along with elephant poaching, bushmeat poaching, agricultural pressure along the park periphery, rising livestock numbers, illegal logging, and intensification of illegal fishing are all factors that threaten the stability and sustainability of the park and the region. However, the Pendjari Complex has a relatively healthy ecosystem in which effective management will ensure the conservation of biodiversity and the coexistence of humans and their environment.


  • Pendjari is one of the largest remaining strongholds for elephants and lions in West Africa
  • Rangers have been deployed throughout the Pendjari Complex to ensure people and wildlife benefit from increased stability in the region
  • Approximately 1,200 schoolchildren and teachers benefited from an environmental education programme in the park in 2017
  • In collaboration with the Elephant Crisis Fund and the Lion Recovery Fund, the first satellite collars have been deployed on elephants and lions in Pendjari to better understand their ecology and movements in the Arly-Pendjari Complex.

Together with the Government of Benin, the National Geographic Society and the Wyss Foundation, as well as a number of other partners, we are working to ensure the ecological restoration and protection of Pendjari, to restore and revitalise this globally important park.

This includes the creation of a special law enforcement brigade to overhaul law enforcement and to safeguard the park’s wildlife and build a constituency for conservation with the local communities.

Protecting the last great savannah wilderness in West Africa, and its iconic species which are an asset for Benin’s economy creates enormous potential for the park to be positioned as a global wildlife tourism destination. This also helps in increasing employment, and generating needed revenue for the park as well as for local communities living in the area. Working with the communities is a top priority, to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, and provide alternative livelihoods to poaching and resource extraction, to ensure a future and prosperity for the region