Pendjari National Park

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Pendjari National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Parc national de la Pendjari.JPG
WAP-Komplex englisch.svg
IUCN Protected Areas of the WAP complex
LocationBenin, West Africa
Nearest cityTanguieta
Coordinates11°3′N 1°31′E / 11.050°N 1.517°E / 11.050; 1.517Coordinates: 11°3′N 1°31′E / 11.050°N 1.517°E / 11.050; 1.517
Area2,755 km2 (1,064 sq mi)
Part ofBeninese part of W-Arly-Pendjari Complex
CriteriaNatural: (ix), (x)
Inscription1996 (20th session)

The Pendjari National Park (French: Parc National de la Pendjari) lies in north western Benin, adjoining the Arli National Park in Burkina Faso. Named for the Pendjari River, the national park is known for its wildlife and is home to some of the last populations of big game like the African forest elephant, West African lion, hippopotamus, buffalo, and various antelopes in West Africa. The park is also famous for its richness in birds.

The Pendjari National Park is an area of 2,755 square kilometres (275,500 ha) in the far north-west of Benin. The park is part of the WAP complex (W-Arli-Pendjari) which is a vast protected area in Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. The hills and cliffs of the Atakora range make the north-west one of the most scenic areas of Benin. They provide a wonderful backdrop to the Pendjari National Park, which, in its isolation, remains one of the most interesting in West Africa.

In March 2009 it was nominated as a tentative site for UNESCO's World Heritage Site program, and in July 2017 it was officially inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a transnational extension of the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex.


The rocky cliffs of the area are sparsely wooded with Burkea africana, Detarium microcarpum, Lannea acida, Sterculia setigera and Combretum ghasalense. On the deep soils of some of the summits and the Atakora escarpment one finds a greater variety of plant species with Isoberlinia doka and Afzelia africana. The Pendjari River has an impressive gallery forest. The park includes both Sudan and Northern Guinea savannas, with areas of grassland dominated by Acacia sieberiana and Mitragyna inermis or Terminalia macroptera. There is a high annual rainfall of around 1,100 millimetres (43 inches); The park is open year-round, although from June–November rainfall can be heavy and certain parts of the park may be inaccessible.

Fauna and Flora[edit]


Pendjari is an important refuge for the African elephant in West Africa
Pendjari National Park is a stronghold for the Critically Endangered West African lion population

Pendjari National Park has a relatively large population of elephants, which was stable over the last decades and counted more than 800 individuals between 2005 and 2010.[1] Including neighboring W National Park and Arly National Park (WAP Complex), the whole population includes more than 3,800 elephants, making it the largest elephant concentration in all of western Africa.[2] The second largest species of the park is the hippopotamus. There are also large populations of several other large herbivores like African buffalo (Syncerus caffer brachyceros; c. 2,700 animals in 2000), western hartebeests (Alcelaphus buselaphus major; c. 1,500 in 2000), roan antelope (c. 2,000 in 2000), kob antelope (c. 2,600 in 2000), and warthogs. Some other antelope species like korrigum (Damaliscus lunatus korrigum), bushbuck, and reedbuck are relatively rare. Smaller bovids are the red-flanked duiker, oribi, and common duiker. Primates are represented by olive baboon, patas monkey, and tantalus monkey.[3]

One of the rarest large predator in the protected area is the Northwest African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus hecki). As of 2007, there were only about 5–13 individuals left in the national park and neighboring W National Park.[4] The West African lion (Panthera leo leo) population in the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex comprised about 100 animals[when?] and is possibly the largest in West Africa.[5]

The endangered West African wild dog (Lycaon pictus manguensis) was recorded in Pendjari National Park during a survey in April 2000, as well as African leopard, spotted hyena, side-striped jackal, and African civet.[3]

The number of waterbucks (Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa) decreased from about 3,000 in the 1970s to only 120 in 2004.[6]

In 2014 and 2015, camera-traps recorded caracal (Caracal caracal), serval (Leptailurus serval), African wildcat (Felis lybica), African civet (Civettictis civetta), Genetta species, Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon), white-tailed mongoose (Ichneumia albicauda), marsh mongoose (Atilax paludinosus), golden jackal (Canis aurus) and honey badger (Mellivora capensis).[7]


The hooded vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus) is resident in the protected area, but in small numbers.[8]

The park is renowned for its abundance of bird species.[9] Some 300 different species are present. Pallid harrier (Circus macrourus) and lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) are occasionally recorded and there are a few isolated records for lappet-faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotus). Fox kestrel (Falco alopex) is not uncommon, while the African swallow-tailed kite (Chelictinia riocourii) is a not uncommon dry season visitor. The booted eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus) has also been recorded here. BirdLife notes that "the Pendjari is notable for large conspicuous species such as African openbill stork (Anastomus lamelligerus), Abdim's stork (Ciconia abdimii), saddle-billed stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis), and seasonally, flocks of up to 60 European white storks (Ciconia ciconia). The African fish eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) and Pel's fishing-owl (Scotopelia peli) can also be found."

Among the more notable species recorded are pied-winged swallow (Hirundo leucosoma), white-crowned robin-chat (Cossypha albicapillus), Botta's wheatear (Oenanthe bottae), familiar chat (Cercomela familiaris), white-fronted black-chat (Myrmecocichla albifrons), mocking cliff-chat (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris), common rock thrush (Monticola saxitilis), Senegal eremomela (Eremomela pusilla), blackcap babbler (Turdoides reinwardtii), red-winged pytilia (Pytilia phoenicoptera), black-rumped waxbill (Estrilda troglodytes), bush petronia (Petronia dentata) and Togo paradise-whydah (Vidua togoensis).

Grey tit-flycatcher (Myioparus plumbeus) has been recorded as well as several other species of the undergrowth. White-throated greenbul (Phyllastrephus albigularis) has been recorded at Tanguiéta and the white-throated francolin (Francolinus albogularis), a rare resident, has been spotted in farmland south of Natitingou. South of the park there is a large semi-protected zone known in French as La zone cygnetique de la Pendjari where a number of other species have been spotted. The National park and the bird habitat is protected by the government in Benin.

Other bird species include:


  1. ^ Bouché P, Douglas-Hamilton I, Wittemyer G, Nianogo AJ, Doucet JL, et al. (2011). "Will Elephants Soon Disappear from West African Savannahs?". PLOS ONE. 6 (6): e20619. CiteSeerX doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020619. PMC 3120750. PMID 21731620.
  2. ^ Clerici, N., Bodini, A., Eva, H., Grégoire, J.M., Dulieu, D. and Paolini, C. (2007). "Increased isolation of two Biosphere Reserves and surrounding protected areas (WAP ecological complex, West Africa)". Journal for Nature Conservation. 15 (1): 26–40. doi:10.1016/j.jnc.2006.08.003.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Sinsin, B., Tehou, A.C., Daouda, I. and Saidou, A. (2002). "Abundance and species richness of larger mammals in Pendjari National Park in Benin". Mammalia. 66 (3): 369–380. doi:10.1515/mamm.2002.66.3.369.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Belbachir, F. (2008). "Acinonyx jubatus ssp. hecki". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T221A13035738. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T221A13035738.en.
  5. ^ Henschel, P.; Azani, D.; Burton, C.; Malanda, G.; Saidu, Y.; Sam, M.; Hunter, L. (2010). "Lion status updates from five range countries in West and Central Africa" (PDF). Cat News. 52: 34–39. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 July 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  6. ^ Kassa, B., Libois, R. and Sinsin, B. (2007). "Diet and food preference of the waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa) in the Pendjari National Park, Benin". African Journal of Ecology. 46 (3): 303–310. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.2007.00827.x. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  7. ^ Sogbohossou, E., Aglissi, J. (2017). "Diversity of small carnivores in Pendjari biosphere reserve, Benin". Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies. 5 (6): 1429–1433. doi:10.22271/j.ento.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  8. ^ Thiollay, J.M. (2006). "The decline of raptors in West Africa: long‐term assessment and the role of protected areas". Ibis. 148 (2): 240–254. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2006.00531.x.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  9. ^ Dasgupta, S. (1 February 2018). "$23.5 million funding pledge aims to protect critical West African national park". Retrieved 1 February 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Assédé, E.P.S., Adomou, A.C. & B. Sinsin (2012) Magnoliophyta, Biosphere reserve of Pendjari, Atacora Province, Benin. Check List 8 (4): 642–661. [1]
  • Hogan, C.M. 2009. Painted Hunting Dog: Lycaon pictus,, ed. N. Stromberg
  • Legba, F. (2005) Contribution de la vegetation des collines de la zone cynegetique et du Parc National de la Pendjari du Benin comme milieu cadre et milieu ressource de la faune sauvage. Thèse Ing. Agr., Université d´Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou. 121 S.
  • Nago, S.G.A. (2005) Diversité des amphibiens dans les terroirs riverrains à la Zone Cynogénétique de la Pendjari. Mémoire de diplôme d´étude approfondies (DEA), Université d´Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou.
  • UNDP/ GEF (2005): Enhancing the effectiveness and catalyzing the sustainability of the W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) protected area system. UNEP Project document PIMS 1617. [2]
  • Woodroffe, R., Ginsberg, J.R. and D.W. Macdonald. 1997. The African wild dog: status survey and conservation action plan, IUCN/SSC Candid Specialist Group, Published by IUCN, ISBN 978-2-8317-0418-0 pages 166

External links[edit]