An increase in elephant and bushmeat poaching, agricultural pressure, livestock numbers along the park periphery are all factors that threaten the long-term conservation of the Pendjari and have been addressed by our overhauling of law enforcement. Our main challenge for 2021 was the rising regional instability and insecurity around the WAP. As a result, key activities focused on professional-level training including advanced tracking, leadership, and special unit reconnaissance training. Our law enforcement team continued effective collaboration with the Benin military (FAB) to ensure the correct allocation of resources to national and park security respectively.
In 2017, a Presidential Decree was announced for the creation of a Special Brigade for the protection of Pendjari. African Parks has recruited and trained rangers who are deployed throughout the Pendjari Complex to ensure the ecosystem and its wildlife are protected. Training includes the use of firearms, patrolling and tracking methods, navigation, data collection, communication, and first aid operations. In 2019, every ranger completed Basic Field Ranger Training (BFR) and advanced tracking and 20 team leaders also completed leadership and human rights training; and analysts and investigators from our Intelligence Unit underwent specialised training for investigations. In 2021, specialised training in conducting investigations as well as training analysts and investigators to curb wildlife crime was also undertaken, contributing to overall security of the region.
Implement improved intelligence systems in Pendjari, adapting from a reactive anti-poaching strategy to active counter-poaching strategy. This will prevent poaching activity from taking place by disrupting illegal activities. Through collaboration and information gathering, an intelligence system is being implemented to enhance our law strengthening and effective judicial monitoring efforts.
A communications and technology network is being established to cover the entire site, and all information will be centralised and monitored 24 hours a day at the operations coordination centre. A 190 km perimeter fence, 150 km of roads, an operational base and staff quarters have also been construction.
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