Cheetah encounter in Pendjari National Park (Benin): A hopeful sign!
Dr Tehou Aristide, research coordinator and regional coordinator of ROCAL for West Africa, reported recently that not far for hotel Pendjari, a group of 4 cheetahs were photographed, who were enjoying themselves (see photos below). This sighting is an indicator that Pendjari National park still holds cheetahs. Reliable population estimates are difficult to make although recent surveys by Panthera and partners may shed more light on the number of remaining cheetah in the WAP complex (W-Arly- Pendjari). A Regional Conservation Strategy workshop for Cheetah and wild dogs, held in February 2012 under auspices of the IUCN Cat specialist group, will soon publish its findings. Several initiatives are in preparation to support local initiatives to conserve large carnivores like the cheetah.
On 14 September the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju adopted Resolution 5.022 Supporting Regional Initiatives to conserve mammal diversity in West and Central Africa, and this resolutions call on governments which gives further support to large carnivore conservation in the region of W and C Africa.
Pendjari National park was established in May 1961 and is located in the north of Benin. The entire Pendjari national park covers an area of 2750 km² and forms together with several other parks the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve. This reserve is part of a large protected complex in West and Central Africa which includes parks like W, Arly, Pendjari, Oti Mandouri and Kéran in the countries Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Togo. This large complex is very important as one of the last remaining strongholds of large carnivores in West and Central Africa, such as lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs and wild dogs. Therefore every observation of these carnivores is of importance and should be recorded. We would like to ask you when you have encountered any large carnivore in a park in West and Central Africa to inform us.