EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO ATTACK IN W-ARLY-PENDJARI COMPLEX
From 8 and 10 February 2022, attacks involving improvised explosive devices resulted in the death of four rangers, two drivers, one instructor and one soldier, with 12 other individuals hospitalised with critical injuries in the W National Park in Benin, one of the components of the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger) inscribed on the World Heritage List. The RRF, responded swiftly, providing financial support to assist victims and support the continuity of conservation actions.
The W-Arly-Pendjari Complex plays a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity, with the area supporting 85% of the remaining savannah elephants in West Africa, the only viable population of lions in the region and one of the few populations of cheetah in West Africa. This is also a critical ecosystem for many other West African mammals, including the leopard, wild dog, Topi antelope and African manatee.
Armed attacks against staff on duty have increased in recent years in the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex. This elevated security risk presents a threat to rangers and the important biodiversity they protect. The RRF therefore provided US$ 40,000 to African Parks Network, which manages the Park in partnership with the Beninese government, to provide medical, psychological and emergency financial support to bereaved families and the injured staff. Additional expertise will be hired to provide extra capacity to rangers in dealing with new threats in the Park.
© BCG/ PAPE/ UEMOA
This attack demonstrates the very serious threats those on the front-line of protecting our world's outstanding biodiversity can face. As well as providing much-needed support to those directly impacted by this attack, the RRF funds will contribute to an increase in capacity to help address new threats in the longer term, and to protect both communities and biodiversity in this valuable landscape.