Securing the stronghold of the West African lion

Photo: Phil Henschel
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Grantee African Parks
Type Protected Area Management
Location Pendjari National Park, Benin
Grant Amount $281,730
Duration 4 years

Pendjari National Park in Benin forms part of the 10,488 square mile W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) protected area complex that straddles Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger and which holds 90% of West Africa’s lions. This complex is two and half times the size of Yellowstone National Park. Pendjari retains the largest wildlife population in the WAP complex, including its population of about 70-100 lions; the park could hold approximately 400-500 lions given adequate law enforcement and management. African Parks has signed a contract to assume management of the park. The Lion Recovery Fund has granted funding for increasing law enforcement in the complex, for understanding lion population sizes and movements, and for appraising the impact of trophy hunting on lions in the area. The LRF’s grant will unlock matching funding from the Wyss Foundation.

In 2021, LRF provided a significant follow up grant of $181,730 to help African Parks strengthen their law enforcement efforts through deployment of an intelligence unit. This unit will help African Parks identify and tackle key threats to lions, including targeted poaching of lions for body parts and human-lion conflict.