Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
Le patrimoine naturel du Niger (Délégation du Niger auprès de l'UNESCO)(french only)
La Région du W du Niger (french only)

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 1996
Size of heritage: 220,000 ha

Longitude: 2,350°
Latitude: 12,350°


The part of 'W' National Park that lies in Niger is situated in a transition zone between savannah and forest lands and represents important ecosystem characteristics of the West African Woodlands/Savannah Biogeographical Province. The site reflects the interaction between natural resources and humans since Neolithic times and illustrates the evolution of biodiversity in this zone.

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W National Park of Niger

The W National Park of Niger is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Département de Tillaberi, arrondissement de Say, in Niger. It is one of the largest and most important protected areas in West Africa, covering an area of approximately 10,000 square kilometers.


The W National Park was established in 1954 as a game reserve by the French colonial administration. It was named after the shape of the Niger River, which forms a "W" as it flows through the park. In 1996, the park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its exceptional biodiversity and ecological significance.

For centuries, the area that now encompasses the W National Park has been inhabited by various ethnic groups, including the Fulani, Tuareg, and Hausa. These communities have traditionally relied on the park's resources for their livelihoods, including fishing, farming, and hunting.

Current State

The W National Park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and researchers. It is particularly renowned for its population of large mammals, including elephants, lions, cheetahs, and giraffes. The park also provides a vital habitat for over 350 species of birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.

However, the park faces numerous challenges that threaten its ecological integrity. One of the main issues is poaching, which has significantly impacted the park's wildlife populations. Elephants, in particular, have been targeted for their ivory, leading to a decline in their numbers. Efforts are being made to combat poaching through increased surveillance and anti-poaching patrols.

Another major concern is the encroachment of human settlements and agricultural activities into the park. The growing population in the surrounding areas has resulted in increased pressure on the park's resources, leading to habitat destruction and fragmentation. Sustainable land-use practices and community engagement initiatives are being implemented to address this issue.

The W National Park is also vulnerable to climate change, with rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns affecting its ecosystems. This has resulted in shifts in vegetation patterns and the loss of certain plant species. Conservation organizations and local communities are working together to develop climate adaptation strategies and promote sustainable resource management.

Despite these challenges, the W National Park of Niger remains an important conservation area and a symbol of Niger's commitment to preserving its natural heritage. Efforts are being made to strengthen the park's management and improve collaboration between stakeholders to ensure its long-term sustainability.

Visitors to the W National Park can experience its breathtaking landscapes, observe its diverse wildlife, and learn about the rich cultural heritage of the surrounding communities. It serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting our natural world for future generations.