Together, W and Pendjari National Parks form a significant portion of the W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) Complex, a globally significant transboundary landscape representing the largest intact wild ecosystem in West Africa.
W National Park (WNP), named after the shape of the Niger River, is connected with Pendjari National Park through hunting concessions, and together the parks form a significant portion of the W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) Complex, a globally significant 26,361 km² transboundary landscape representing west Africa’s largest intact wild ecosystem. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this remote region has suffered from rising militant extremism and a historical lack of management, as well as of human and financial resources. Acknowledging progress made by African Parks in Pendjari National Park since 2017, the Benin Government, together with West African Savannah Foundation (FSOA), coordinated a Priority Intervention Plan (PIP) with African Parks in September 2019 to provide an urgently needed wildlife refuge for which W National Park was intended. In June 2020, the Benin Government committed to W’s long-term protection, concluding a full management agreement with African Parks.
W National Park is a transboundary protected area and UNESCO World Heritage Site covering three countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger. In June 2020, the Benin portion of the park, spanning more than 8,000 km2, officially came under African Parks’ management. W National Park is contiguous with Pendjari National Park, which the Benin Government invited African Parks to manage in 2017. Together, the parks form a significant portion of the W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) Complex, a globally significant transboundary landscape representing the largest intact wild ecosystem in West Africa.
Characterised by wooded savannah and gallery forests in the south and open savannah with thorny scrub in the north, W is drained by two large river systems, the Mékrou and Alibori, which form part of the Niger River basin. The last viable populations of several species in the region including the Northwest African cheetah, are found in the WAP Complex, including a critically endangered subspecies which occurs in small numbers. Ninety percent of the West African lion subpopulation also occur in the WAP as well as several rare antelope species such as the korrigum, or tsessebe.
At this stage, the park's main priority is to implement full management activities, with a particular emphasis on law enforcement and securing the area for local communities and wildlife. Our overall aim is to see W and Pendjari National Parks become a centre of excellence for security coordination across the region. In addition, bi-annual species surveys will be conducted as well as reintroductions of extirpated species and translocations of rare species to bolster the park's wildlife populations.
In June 2020, African Parks signed an initial 10-year management agreement with the Republic of Benin to manage W National Park, the second park in the country to enter the portfolio after Pendjari National Park which forms part of the same transfrontier park, W-Arly-Pendjari Complex.View Partners
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