Pendjari National Park is one of the most recent parks and the first within West Africa to fall under our management. The park is situated in the northwest Benin, spanning an area of 4,800 km2 it is a primary component of the larger 35,000km2 transnational W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) complex, which is spread across three countries: Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. This is the largest remaining intact ecosystem in West Africa and the last refuge for the region’s largest population of elephants and critically endangered West African lion, of which fewer than 400 adults remain and 100 live in Pendjari. Pendjari’s expansive landscape contains important wetlands which is critical for a number of local species including cheetahs, buffalo, various antelope species and more than 460 avian species.

However, the ecological integrity of this globally significant reserve has been facing major threats, including poaching, demographic pressure on surrounding land, and exponential resource erosion. But the Benin Government wanted to change this trajectory and chart a different path for this critically important landscape within their borders, with the aim of providing better protection for this landscape, and to realize the economic and social value of the park. In May 2017, African Parks signed a 10-year management mandate with the Government, and in January 2017 we forged a ground-breaking, US$23M partnership with the Government of Benin, National Geographic Society and the Wyss Foundation. Thanks to the progressiveness of the Benin Government, a lifeline was thrown to this little-known but globally important protected area.

Pendjari Highlights

  • 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 the increased stability in the region.
  • Approximately 1,200 schoolchildren and teachers benefited from the park’s environmental education programme in 2017.
  • In collaboration with the Elephant Crisis Fund and the Lion Recovery Fund, the first satellite collars were deployed on elephants and lions in Pendjari to better understand their ecology and movements in the Arly-Pendjari Complex.
  • We have created a special law enforcement brigade to to safeguard the park’s wildlife and build a constituency for conservation with the local communities.
  • 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.


In May 2017, the Government of Benin entered into a long-term agreement with African Parks to revitalise, rehabilitate and develop Pendjari. Pendjari was included as one of 45 flagship projects of the “Revealing Benin” national investment programme