Benin’s threatened Pendjari National Park gets $23.5m boost

Benin’s vast Pendjari National Park, one of West Africa’s last remaining wildlife refuges, will receive $23.5 million (18.9 million euros) to help protect it and fight poaching, donors announced in London on Wednesday.

The Benin government will provide $6 million (4.8 million euros), with the National Geographic Society donating $7.5 million (6 million euros) and the US Wyss Foundation stumping up the rest through the African Parks NGO, the groups said at a press conference.

The 4,800-square-kilometre Pendjari is one of the three parks in the “WAP” complex (W, Arly and Pendjari) that spans across covers Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger, and is one of the last remaining wildlife sanctuaries in West Africa.

It is home to the cheetah, West African Lion, antelope and buffalo.

The UNESCO World Heritage site, which is located more than 12 hours away from the economic capital Cotonou, has suffered from decades of neglect, and is under threat from poaching and population growth.

“Pendjari National Park is an exceptional reserve, but its long-term future has been under threat,” said Benin President Patrice Talon.

Pendjari National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site

“The support we are seeing for this landscape is extraordinary and could not have come at a more important time. This partnership will help us create a sustainable future for this landscape,” he added.

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