relay.nationalgeographic: Once on the Brink, This African Park Is Making a Comeback
A Delaware-size patch of land in West Africa is making a comeback.
On January 31, the National Geographic Society announced it was partnering up with African Parks, the Wyss Foundation, and the Republic of Benin to revitalize West Africa's Pendjari National Park. The goal of the conservation initiative, in which $23.5 million will be distributed over several years, is to protect, restore, and rehabilitate the park's fragile landscape.
With this fund, the National Geographic Society will lead new scientific exploration in the park, as well as develop new monitoring technology and a large-scale conservation plan. The society will also create materials for educational and long-term financing purposes.
“The Pendjari National Park is an exceptional reserve, which was under threat because of poaching,” Benin President Patrice Talon says in a press release. “The international collaboration for this reserve is extraordinary, especially because it comes at a time when my government is committed to making tourism a lever for long-term development. It is all at once a matter of preservation of our environment and our natural resources, sustainable tourism and social impact.”
Pendjari National Park covers 1,853 square miles in West Africa, bridging Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger. It's the region's largest remaining ecosystem and the last refuge for vulnerable species like elephants and lions. Estimated populations of cheetahs, antelope, buffalo, hippos, and other animals also make up the park's inhabitants. (Read: " How Killing Elephants Finances Terror in Africa")