The Boucle de Pendjari National Park is situated in the north-west of the country, against the international frontier with Burkina Faso, where it is contiguous with the Arli–W–Singou protected area complex (IBA BF008). The south-eastern boundary of the park is formed by the quartzite cliffs of the Atacora Hills. The park itself is flat (c.175 m), apart from the Buém hills in the east, which reach 423 m, and a second group of hills to the south-west. The park is bounded on three sides by the perennial Pendjari river, which rises in the Atacora Hills south of the park, before draining into the Oti river which flows into Togo and Ghana. The course of the Pendjari along the northern edge of the park forms the international border with Burkina Faso. The main habitats include Sudan and Northern Guinea savannas. There are extensive areas of open grasslands dominated by Acacia sieberiana and Mitragyna inermis or by Terminalia macroptera. There is good gallery forest, the Bondjago forest, beside the Pendjari river at the base of the Atacora Hills, and the river is fringed elsewhere by Parinari congensis, Cola laurifolia, Syzygium guineense and Pterocarpus santalinoides. Marshy areas occur next to the river where there are also stands of Borassus aethiopum, Daniella oliveri, Anogeissus leiocarpus and Terminalia spp. Average annual rainfall is c.1,100 mm.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. Circus macrourus and Falco naumanni are occasionally recorded and two species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome (A05) also occur (see Table 2). Pendjari is notable for large, conspicuous species such as Anastomus lamelligerus, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis, Ciconia abdimii, Neotis denhami and, seasonally, flocks of up to 60 Ciconia ciconia. In addition, Terathopius ecaudatus and Haliaeetus vocifer breed in trees along the Pendjari river, where Scotopelia peli has also been seen.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals of global conservation concern include Panthera leo (VU), Acinonyx jubatus (VU), Loxodonta africana (EN), Damaliscus lunatus korrigum (LR/cd) and Cephalophus rufilatus (LR/cd).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The Boucle de Pendjari National Park, created in 1961, is part of the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve (880,000 ha), which also includes the Pendjari and Atacora hunting zones, and Arli National Park in Burkina Faso. Although the terrestrial parts of the park are well protected, poachers have been known to poison waters with insecticides, such as Endrin, to obtain fish illegally. Fires and climatic desiccation have depleted animal populations in the past, as have hunting by poachers and encroachment by cattle-grazing, but park management has improved.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Pendjari National Park. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 11/08/2020.