Waza National Park

Country/territory: Cameroon

IBA criteria met: A1, A3, A4i, A4iii (2001)
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Area: 170,000 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2013 not assessed high medium
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Site description (2001 baseline)
Waza National Park is located in the transition zone between the Sahel and Sudan savanna. The park, situated immediately east of the town of Waza, lies less than 10 km from the borders with both Nigeria and Chad. It is bounded to the east and north-east by the Logone flood-plain (CM002) and to the west by the Maroua–Kousséri road. The southern and extreme western parts are covered by sandy soils that support a wooded Sclerocarya birrea and Anogeissus leiocarpus savanna. Most of the park is, however, covered by heavy clay soils and is extremely flat. The north-eastern corner is annually flooded and is covered by perennial grass species such as Echinochloa pyramidalis, Oryza longistaminata and, less commonly, Hyparrhenia rufa and Vetiveria nigritana. A few raised areas, supporting Tamarindus indica and Balanites aegyptiaca trees, constitute the only variation in this open landscape. Large stretches of annual grasses and herbs, interspersed by Acacia seyal shrublands, cover the central and western parts of the park, most of which used to be seasonally inundated prior to the construction of the Maga dam, which lies to the south-east.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Waza National Park harbours, together with the contiguous Logone flood-plain (CM002), some 379 bird species. Other species of global conservation concern include Marmaronetta angustirostris, observed only in 1976, Aythya nyroca, recorded in 1967 and 1976, Aquila clanga, seen in 1978, Falco naumanni, which was common in the 1970s, but recently has only been recorded in 1993 and 1997, and Neotis nuba, which has been recorded once, in 1998. The park contains important populations of grassland species such as Ortyxelos meiffrenii, an estimated 100–200 Ardeotis arabs and holds the last Struthio camelus population in Cameroon, with c.100 individuals. Waterbird counts have recorded, in addition to those listed below, up to 15,000 Dendrocygna viduata while the 1,000+ Balearica pavonina are thought to represent at least 5% of the western population of this species. More than 20,000 waterbirds are thought to be present most of the year.

Non-bird biodiversity: Waza holds some of the last large-mammal concentrations in central West Africa. Of particular conservation interest are Gazella rufifrons (VU) and Damaliscus lunatus korrigum (VU), the former apparently increasing, and the latter the only sizeable population in Cameroon. In addition, the population of c.1,300 Loxodonta africana (EN) has a major impact on the structure of the Acacia seyal shrublands and is a regular source of conflict with farmers at distances of up to 100 km from the park.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Waza National Park. Downloaded from on 01/10/2023.