Ermak Travel Guide


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Location: Map


Area: 10,000 km²

W National Park

W National Park






Description of W National Park


W National Park that is shared between Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso.  W National Park gets its name from a river Niger that runs through protected reserve. Its shape here looks like letter "W", thus it gets the name. It cover an are of 10,000 km² of wetlands, forests and open savannah. It is inhabited by elephants, warthogs, baboons, caracals, cheetahs, hippopotamuses as well as violent carnivore cats like lions and leopards.





Ever since the Neolithic people lived in the Niger basin in the reserve. A large number of archaeological artifacts are found here.

Currently, the main problems of the territory are the irrational and illegal use of resources, in particular illegal fishing, transfer of land for agricultural purposes (including cotton fields). Local residents are included in the reserve management, which allows us to search for a sustainable development strategy.

Various research projects are working in the reserve, some of which have been operating for more than 50 years. For example, since 1960, climate monitoring has been carried out. In addition, the number of large mammals, in particular elephants, is counted, for which they use observations from the air. Such large-scale projects were carried out in Niger in 1972, 1977 and 1992.

There are plans to build dams on the Niger and Merku rivers, as well as phosphate mining.

Territory protection
In Niger, the reserve was founded in 1937, becoming the first conservation area in the country. In 1954, this territory was declared a national park. In 1962, a so-called buffer zone was created on the border with the park: a partial Dosso Partial Reserve in the northeast and a complete Tamou Total Fauna Reserve in the north.

In Benin, the park was founded in 1936. His status was confirmed in 1954. In the same year, a national park was founded on the territory of Burkina Faso.

The area is protected as a national park in each of the countries in whose territory it is located. The region is protected by the Ramsar Convention, the Niger wetlands since 1987, Burkina Faso since 1990. In 1996, a biosphere reserve was created on the basis of the Niger National Park, followed by a series of consultations and studies, which ended in 2002 with the incorporation of the territories of Burkina Faso and Benin into the reserve and the creation of a cross-border environmental and research facility. The Niger National Park is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

A special coordination structure has been created to manage the reserve by the participating States, and various programs of the European Union provide support.





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