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W Transborder Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Mekrou river in W-National Park MS 6380.JPG
Mekrou River in the W-National Park
Map showing the location of W Transborder Park
IUCN Protected Areas of the WAP complex: 2, 3, 4 representing W National Park
LocationNiger-Burkina Faso-Benin
Nearest cityKandi (Benin), Diapaga (Burkina), Tapoa (Niger)
Coordinates12°31′31″N 2°39′48″E / 12.52528°N 2.66333°E / 12.52528; 2.66333Coordinates: 12°31′31″N 2°39′48″E / 12.52528°N 2.66333°E / 12.52528; 2.66333
Area10,000 km²
EstablishedAugust 4, 1954
Governing bodyECOPAS, Governments of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Benin
Official name: W National Park of Niger
Criteria:vii, ix, x
Designated:1996 (20th session)
Reference #:749
State Party:Nigeria

The W Regional Park (French: "W" du Niger) is a major national park in West Africa around a meander in the River Niger shaped like a "W". The park includes areas of the three countries Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso, and is governed by the three governments. Until 2008, the implementation of a regional management was supported by the EU-funded Project ECOPAS (French: Ecosystèmes Protégés en Afrique Soudano-Sahélienne). The three national parks operate under the name W Transborder Park (French: [Parc Regional W] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)).[1]


The W National Park of Niger was created by decree on 4 August 1954, and since 1996 has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within Niger, the Park is listed as a National Park, IUCN Type II, and is part of a larger complex of Reserves and protected areas. These include the adjacent Dallol Bosso (Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) on the eastern bank of the Niger River and the partial overlap of the smaller "Parc national du W" (Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar).[2] The three parks are BirdLife International Important Bird Areas (IBAs)of types A1 and A3 (IBA codes IBA NE001, IBA BF008, and IBA BJ001).


Bends in the River Niger which give W National Park its distinctive name.

In the three nations, the Regional park covers some 10,000 km² largely uninhabited by humans, having been until the 1970s a Malarial zone of wetlands formed by the delta of the Mekrou River with the Niger, broken by rocky hills. Historically, the area has been at one time a major area of human habitation, judged by the important archaeological sites (mostly tombs) found in the area.


The parc also constitute the southern limit of tiger bush plateaus distribution in Niger.


The park is known for its large mammals, including aardvarks, baboons, buffalo, caracal, cheetahs, elephants, hippopotamuses, leopards, lions, serval and warthogs. The park provides a home for some of West Africa's last wild African Elephants. However, the rare West African Giraffe, today restricted to small parts of the Niger, is absent from the park. The W Park is also known for historic occurrence of packs of the endangered Painted Hunting Dog,[3] although this canid may now be extirpated from the area.[4] The National Park is one of the last strongholds for the Northwest African cheetah. There is a small but apparently increasing population of at least 15-25 animals of this rare cat in the park.[5] The W area is also known for its bird populations, especially transitory migrating species, with over 350 species identified in the park.[6]


  1. Official site.
  2. World Database on Protected Areas: W du Niger
  3. W National Park. 2009
  4. C.Michael Hogan. 2009
  5. Belbachir, F. (2008). Acinonyx jubatus ssp. hecki. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 4 February 2009.
  6. United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (Content Partner); Mark McGinley (Topic Editor). 2009. "'W' National Park, Niger." In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). online


  • Benoit M (1998) Statut et usage du sol en périphérie du parc national du "W" du Niger. Tome 1 : Contribution à l’étude du milieu naturel et des ressources végétales du canton de Tamou et du Parc du "W". ORSTOM, Niamey, Niger, 41 p. [1]
  • Doussa S (2004) Les impacts de la culture cotonnière sur la gestion des ressources naturelles du Parc W. Maitrise, Université de Ouagadougou.
  • Grégoire JM, Fournier A, Eva H & Sawadogo L (2003) Caractérisation de la dynamique des feux et de l’évolution du couvert dans le Parc du W: Burkina Faso, Bénin et Niger. 64 S. [2]
  • Hogan C.Michael (2009) Painted Hunting Dog: Lycaon pictus,, ed. N. Stromberg
  • Koster S & Grettenberger J (1983) A preliminary survey of birds in Park W Niger. Malimbus, 5: 62-72
  • Nacoulma, B.M.I. (2012): Dynamique et stratégies de conservation de la végétation et de la phytodiversité du complexe écologique du Parc National du W du Burkina Faso. PhD thesis, Université de Ouagadougou.
  • Poche R (1976) A checklist of National Park W, Niger. Africa Mig. Field. 41(3): 113- 115.
  • Poche R (1973) Niger's threatened park 'W'. Oryx 12(2): 216-222 .
  • Rabeil T (2003) Distribution potentielles des grands mammifères dans le Parc du W au Niger. Doctoral Thesis, Univ. Paris VII. 463 S. [3]
  • Price et al. (2003) The “W” Regional Park of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger - Building on a Process of Regional Integration to Address both Local Interests and Transboundary Challenges. World Parks Congress 2003, Durban, RSA. In: Pansky, Diane (ed.). 2005. Governance Stream of the Vth World Parks Congress. Ottawa, Canada: Parks Canada and IUCN/WCPA. ISBN: R62-375/2003E-MRC 0-662-40433-5. [4]
  • W National Park of Niger. 2009. [5]

External links

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