Pendjari National Park forms part of the 32,250 km² transnational W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) Complex, spanning Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger, which is the largest remaining, intact wild ecosystem in west Africa. Covering 4,800 km2, Pendjari is the last refuge for the region’s 1,700 elephants and 25% of the remaining 400 critically endangered West African lions. But, historically, the region suffered political instability, lax management, insufficient resources, and growing human pressures, all of which threatened the remaining wildlife and livelihoods of communities dependent on the park. However, in 2017, the Government of Benin recognised the link between securing its protected areas and sustainable development for the country. In May that year, they invited African Parks to assume management of Pendjari. Since then, and with a lifeline of US$23 million committed by the Benin Government, Wyss Foundation, National Geographic, and Wildcat Foundation, Pendjari’s rejuvenation has been palpable.

In five years, this volatile landscape, inundated by uncontrolled use and rampant poaching, has become a safe haven for growing wildlife populations and a vital source of employment, education, healthcare, and stability for thousands of people. A multifaceted law enforcement strategy has ensured a level of security in the region; infrastructure investments and other measures have accounted for a 70% drop in human wildlife conflict, while enterprise developments are adding to local revenue streams and significantly increasing food security for local communities. Despite its challenges, in one of the most precarious regions in Africa today, Pendjari is emerging as a place of hope and safety, encouraging its people to continue protecting its fragile biodiversity for future generations.

Pendjari Highlights

  • Pendjari is one of the largest remaining strongholds for elephants and West African lions in the region
  • Rangers have received professional-level training in advanced tracking, leadership, and special unit reconnaissance training, and are deployed throughout the Pendjari Complex to ensure people and wildlife benefit from the increased stability in the region
  • Over 3,000 community members have received environmental education and approximately 3,200 school children visit the park each year
  • Across the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex over 13,000 animals have been recorded, including an estimate of 4,000 elephants, of which approximately 2,000 are in Pendjari – the largest population in the region
  • A fence line to reduce human-wildlife incidents has been erected resulting in 96% decrease in incidents


In May 2017, the Government of Benin entered into a long-term agreement with African Parks to revitalise, rehabilitate and develop Pendjari. Pendjari was included as one of 45 flagship projects of the “Revealing Benin” national investment programme