The National Geographic Society, African Parks, the Wyss Foundation and the Republic of Benin recently announced a groundbreaking partnership to help secure and rehabilitate one of the last remaining wild landscapes in all of West Africa, Benin’s Pendjari National Park. Together, the four partners are initially committing more than US$23M to safeguard the park.
African Parks, a conservation non-governmental organization (NGO) that manages protected areas across Africa, assumed management of Pendjari, a World Heritage site, in partnership with the Presidency of the Republic of Benin in May of 2017. Earlier that year, Hansjörg Wyss, a member of African Parks’ board of directors, made a transformational commitment to support parks currently under African Parks’ management, and to help it bring up to five new parks into the portfolio.
The National Geographic Society’s monetary commitment of US$7.5M over five years complements a portion of the Wyss Foundation’s commitment to African Parks for Pendjari National Park. This partnership aims to protect, restore and revitalize Pendjari’s extraordinary landscape through increased operational effectiveness, scientific research, innovative technology and visually compelling storytelling.
For almost two decades, African Parks has implemented a successful private-public partnership model to conserve Africa’s wildlife and remaining wild areas, providing expertise in highly effective protected area management that will be brought to bear in the day-to-day management of Pendjari. National Geographic will complement this work by leading science-based exploration of the park; developing technology to monitor and protect the site; convening stakeholders to develop a large-scale management plan; creating educational materials relevant to the community; and producing visually compelling materials that make the case for long-term financing and protection.
“We are extremely pleased to be partnering with the National Geographic Society for the continued protection of Pendjari National Park,” said Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks. “The scale of this commitment, and the Society’s ability to help advance scientific research, develop technological solutions, and shine a spotlight on this invaluable ecological landscape, will help us to ensure its future.”