Law Enforcement

In September 2019, a Priority Intervention Plan was initiated in W. This agreement, between the Benin Government, West African Savannah Foundation (FSOA), and African Parks, aimed to improve law enforcement capacity and training, rehabilitate existing infrastructure, and strengthen collaboration with local communities. A Joint Intelligence and Operations room was installed for more coordinated law enforcement efforts across the WAP Complex. By May 2020, 34 additional rangers had been fully trained and deployed throughout the park. Over six months, law enforcement confiscated 558 kg of illegally-obtained bushmeat and 17 illegal firearms. Of the 242 arrests made, 209 were prosecuted, marking an 86% success rate.

Illegal hunting and fishing as well as agricultural pressure are major threats to many species in the park. Shooting and snaring of antelope for local and national sale bushmeat is common and carnivores are targeted to reduce threats to livestock. Poaching of elephants for ivory is rare. Law enforcement efforts to reduce these threats to the ecosystem need to be done in conjunction with the local communities surrounding the park, as well as communicating with their counterparts across the borders in Niger and Burkina Faso.

Regional insecurity related to radical Islamist groups around the WAP Complex remain a threat and cause disruption to the area’s people and wildlife. There are three small groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda that operate near the park. This is a challenge not present in any other area of operation in the African Parks portfolio and requires greater cooperation with international forces in the region.