Kainji Lake National Park

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
Kainji Lake National Park (KNLP) (headquarters Wawa) is situated 560 km north of Lagos, close to the border with the Republic of Benin. It comprises two sectors (Borgu and Zugurma) which are separated by Kainji Lake, a lake impounded on the Niger river for hydroelectric power generation. Only the Borgu (western) sector is currently used for tourism; the Zugurma (eastern) sector lacks infrastructure, including access roads. The topography of the park is gently undulating with a general decrease in elevation from west to east. The Borgu sector is drained mainly by the Oli, Timo and Doro rivers and their tributaries, while the Zugurma sector is drained by the Maingyara and Nuwa Tizururu rivers. The vegetation of the park is typical of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna, although in some areas it appears more Sahelian. Riparian forests occur on the banks of the larger watercourses.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Over 180 species have been recorded including such nationally uncommon species as Pelecanus rufescens, Anhinga rufa, Ixobrychus minutus, Sagittarius serpentarius, Terathopius ecaudatus, Neotis denhami, Burhinus capensis, B. vermiculatus, Caprimulgus climacurus, Bucorvus abyssinicus and Campephaga phoenicea. Rare Palearctic migrants such as Falco subbuteo and Cuculus canorus have been recorded. The shores of Kainji Lake are wintering grounds for many hundreds of Palearctic waterbirds.

Non-bird biodiversity: Numerous antelope species occur including Hippotragus equinus (LR/cd), Alcelaphus buselaphus (LR/cd), Kobus kob (LR/cd), Redunca redunca (LR/cd) and Cephalophus rufilatus (LR/cd). Other mammals reported are Loxodonta africana (EN), Lycaon pictus (VU), Acinonyx jubatus (VU) and, in Lake Kainji, Trichechus senegalensis (VU).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
KNLP is Nigeria’s oldest National Park, established in 1976. Although the area around the park has a relatively low population density, numerous human activities adversely affect the park. These include deforestation, uncontrolled burning and illegal grazing and are particularly prevalent in the Zugurma sector. Wild mammals occur at relatively low densities due to illegal hunting. Lake Kainji has suffered a dramatic decline as a fishery due to the high numbers of artisanal and subsistence fisherfolk using the lake. It has been suggested that a period of closure, together with controlled fishing rights may help improve fish stocks.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kainji Lake National Park. Downloaded from on 04/08/2021.