W National Park

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W Transborder Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Mekrou river in W-National Park MS 6380.JPG
Mekrou River in the W-National Park
WAP-Komplex englisch.svg
IUCN Protected Areas of the WAP complex
Location Niger-Burkina Faso-Benin
Nearest city Kandi (Benin), Diapaga (Burkina), Tapoa (Niger)
Coordinates 12°31′31″N 2°39′48″E / 12.52528°N 2.66333°E / 12.52528; 2.66333Coordinates: 12°31′31″N 2°39′48″E / 12.52528°N 2.66333°E / 12.52528; 2.66333
Area 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi)
Established August 4, 1954
Governing body ECOPAS, Governments of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Benin
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Criteria Natural: (ix), (x) Edit this on Wikidata[1]
Reference 749-001
Inscription 1996 (20th Session)

The W National Park or W Regional Park (French: "W" du Niger) is a major national park in West Africa around a meander in the River Niger shaped like a "W". The park includes areas of the three countries Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso, and is governed by the three governments. Until 2008, the implementation of a regional management was supported by the EU-funded Project ECOPAS (French: Ecosystèmes Protégés en Afrique Soudano-Sahélienne). The three national parks operate under the name W Transborder Park (French: Parc Regional W).[2]


The W National Park of Niger was created by decree on 4 August 1954, and since 1996 has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within Niger, the Park is listed as a National Park, IUCN Type II, and is part of a larger complex of Reserves and protected areas. These include the adjacent Dallol Bosso (Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) on the eastern bank of the Niger River and the partial overlap of the smaller "Parc national du W" (Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar).[3] The three parks are BirdLife International Important Bird Areas (IBAs)of types A1 and A3 (IBA codes IBA NE001, IBA BF008, and IBA BJ001).


Bends in the River Niger which give W National Park its distinctive name.

In the three nations, the Regional park covers some 10,000 km² largely uninhabited by humans, having been until the 1970s a Malarial zone of wetlands formed by the delta of the Mekrou River with the Niger, broken by rocky hills. Historically, the area has been at one time a major area of human habitation, judged by the important archaeological sites (mostly tombs) found in the area.


In the national park, A total of 454 species of plants were recorded, including two orchids found only in Niger.

The park also constitute the southern limit of tiger bush plateaus distribution in Niger.


The park is known for its large mammals, including aardvarks, baboons, buffalo, caracal, cheetahs, elephants, hippopotami, African leopards, West African lions, serval and warthogs. The park provides a home for some of West Africa's last wild African elephants. However, the rare West African giraffes, today restricted to small parts of the Niger, is absent from the park. The W Park is also known for historic occurrence of packs of the endangered West African wild dogs,[4] although this canid may now be extirpated from the area.[5] The National Park is one of the last strongholds for the Northwest African cheetah. There is a small but apparently increasing population of at least 15-25 animals of this rare cat in the park.[6] The W area is also known for its bird populations, especially transitory migrating species, with over 350 species identified in the park.[7] The park has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area.[8]


  1. ^ http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/749.
  2. ^ parc-w.net: Official site.
  3. ^ World Database on Protected Areas: W du Niger
  4. ^ W National Park. 2009
  5. ^ C.Michael Hogan. 2009
  6. ^ Belbachir, F. (2008). "Acinonyx jubatus ssp. hecki". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 4 February 2009. 
  7. ^ United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (Content Partner); Mark McGinley (Topic Editor). 2009. "'W' National Park, Niger." In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). online
  8. ^ BirdLife International. (2013). Important Bird Areas factsheet: 'W' National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/03/2013.


  • Convers Arnaud, Chaibou Issa, Binot Aurélie, Dulieu Dominique (2007) La gestion de la transhumance dans la zone d’influence du parc régional du w par le programme ecopas: une « approche projet » pour l’aménagement de la périphérie du parc. Vertigo Hors Série 4. URL : http://vertigo.revues.org/761 ; DOI : 10.4000/vertigo.761
  • Benoit M (1998) Statut et usage du sol en périphérie du parc national du "W" du Niger. Tome 1 : Contribution à l’étude du milieu naturel et des ressources végétales du canton de Tamou et du Parc du "W". ORSTOM, Niamey, Niger, 41 p. [1]
  • Doussa S (2004) Les impacts de la culture cotonnière sur la gestion des ressources naturelles du Parc W. Maitrise, Université de Ouagadougou.
  • Grégoire JM, Fournier A, Eva H & Sawadogo L (2003) Caractérisation de la dynamique des feux et de l’évolution du couvert dans le Parc du W: Burkina Faso, Bénin et Niger. 64 S. [2]
  • Hogan C.Michael (2009) Painted Hunting Dog: Lycaon pictus, GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. N. Stromberg
  • Koster S & Grettenberger J (1983) A preliminary survey of birds in Park W Niger. Malimbus, 5: 62-72
  • Nacoulma, B.M.I. (2012): Dynamique et stratégies de conservation de la végétation et de la phytodiversité du complexe écologique du Parc National du W du Burkina Faso. PhD thesis, Université de Ouagadougou.
  • Poche R (1976) A checklist of National Park W, Niger. Africa Mig. Field. 41(3): 113- 115.
  • Poche R (1973) Niger's threatened park 'W'. Oryx 12(2): 216-222 .
  • Rabeil T (2003) Distribution potentielles des grands mammifères dans le Parc du W au Niger. Doctoral Thesis, Univ. Paris VII. 463 S. [3]
  • Price et al. (2003) The “W” Regional Park of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger - Building on a Process of Regional Integration to Address both Local Interests and Transboundary Challenges. World Parks Congress 2003, Durban, RSA. In: Pansky, Diane (ed.). 2005. Governance Stream of the Vth World Parks Congress. Ottawa, Canada: Parks Canada and IUCN/WCPA. ISBN R62-375/2003E-MRC 0-662-40433-5. [4]
  • W National Park of Niger. 2009. [5]
  • Zwarg A, Schmidt M, Janßen T, Hahn K, Zizka G (2012) Plant diversity, functional traits and soil conditions of grass savannas on lateritic crusts (bowé) in south eastern Burkina Faso. Flora et Vegetatio Sudano-Sambesica 15: 15-24.

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