The part of 'W' National Park that lies in Niger is situated in a transition zone between savannah and forest lands and represents important ecosystem characteristics of the West African Woodlands/Savannah Biogeographical Province. The site reflects the interaction between natural resources and humans since Neolithic times and illustrates the evolution of biodiversity in this zone.
Crue de la rivière Pendjari
© Matthias Kunert, Direction du Parc National de la Pendjari
Outstanding Universal Value
'W' National Park of Niger is located in a transition zone between savanna and woodlands and represents a part of the important ecosystem characteristics of the West African woodlands/savanna bio-geographical region. The property reflects the interaction between natural resources and human beings since neolithic times and has produced characteristic landscapes and plant formations and represents the evolution of biodiversity in the Sudano-Sahelian biome.
Criterion (ix): 'W' Park possesses important hydrological resources that favour the presence of an interesting bird population that continues to evolve. The landscapes of the Park are very diversified, including aquatic ecosystems (large and small rivers, ponds) and land ecosystems where grassy areas, brush shrubbery and gallery forests alternate.
Criterion (x): The property contains a fairly rich biodiversity essentially comprising 350 bird species, 114 fish species (representative of the fauna of the River Niger), several species of reptiles and mammals and 500 plant species. Among the mammal species, the property contains threatened species such as the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), the elephant (Loxodonta africana), dugong (Trichechus senegalensis) and the red-fronted gazelle (Eudorcas rufifrons).
With a fairly large area (220,000 ha), the Park is quite extensive and contains all the elements of habitat indispensable for the viable survival of populations. The natural environment of the Park presents an increase of its primary productivity, a demographical expansion of large mammals and a notable increase of its biological diversity (reappearance of several species of large wildlife that had disappeared). In order to strengthen the conservation of its rich biological diversity, notably its interesting bird population and the new species regularly reported, 'W' Park has been provided with two buffer zones: the entire Wildlife Reserve of Tamou and part of the Wildlife Reserve of Dosso.
Protection and management requirements
The property benefits from legal protection through national laws and receives financial and technical support from the State and some development partners. It also has a development and management plan. Although the boundaries of the property are clearly defined and controlled, there are however threats such as poaching, illegal grazing and encroachment of agricultural land. Adequate measures must be undertaken to combat these threats. In order to ensure a sustainable management and conservation of this property, a sustainable financing strategy is indispensable to guarantee the necessary human and financial resources, and especially to effectively implement the development and management plan and the tripartite agreement (Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger) concerning the W complex. The strengthening of cooperation with neighbouring countries in view of a possible transboundary extension of the property is necessary.
The 'W' National Park, so named because of the local configuration of the Niger River (220,000 ha), is located in a transition zone between Sudan and Guinea savannahs and contiguous to 'W' National Parks in both Burkina Faso and Benin, and the Reserve de Faune de Tamou to the north. Shrub savannah is the most widespread vegetation type occurring on shallow infertile soils.
W hosts ecosystems representing the interaction between natural resources and humans since Neolithic times. This interaction has produced characteristic landscapes and plant formations and represents the evolution of biodiversity in the Sudan-Sahelian biome.
The park hosts the major populations of ungulates in West Africa and wild plant species considered very important for conservation and genetic research. The wetland area of the park is of international importance for the conservation of birds as a Ramsar site. The fact that the park is contiguous to other protected areas in Burkina Faso and Niger is important for the survival of species that need large areas for their seasonal migrations.
A total of 454 plant species has been recorded, including two orchid species found only in Niger. More than 70 mammal species have been described, and around 350 bird species are found in the area. Most of the populations of ungulate species are increasing, thanks to protection programmes. Reptiles and fishes occurring in the park are typical of the Niger River. Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC