Gray countries with texture denote areas of future engagement.
Wildlife knows no boundaries. So AWF has defined areas across the continent that are critical to conservation. These Priority Landscapes can cover public and private lands alike and often cross borders.
126,826,020 hectares (489,678 sq. mi.)
Saharan cheetah, Niger giraffe, golden jackal, African elephant, Addax antelope
Named after the Niger River, Niger is the largest nation in West Africa. The Sahara Desert covers more than 80% of its land. Even its nondesert portions are threatened by drought, though. Niger’s very hot and dry landlocked position has put it at a great disadvantage. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with low literacy, lack of infrastructure, and little health care.
Commercially, Niger has a weak transportation system with few paved roads and no railways. The Niger River is also unnavigable because it is too shallow for boats the majority of the year. Niger’s economy is based on some of the world’s largest uranium deposits—making up 72% of its exports—as well as livestock and crops, such as pearl millet and cassava.
Niger is home to some of the rarest desert species on earth, including the addax antelope, of which there are fewer than 300 left in the wild. Despite surviving in terrain that receives less than 5 inches of annual rainfall, wildlife is now threatened due to habitat reduction from oil exploration as well as continued poaching.
While Niger has a number of national parks and protected areas, the majority of its people don’t understand the value that wildlife or flora bring to their nation. In fact, hunting has been legal since 1996, and local and foreign hunters often pick off everything from sheep to gazelles one by one. Without conservation education and poaching enforcement, some of these rare species will face extinction.
African Wildlife Foundation’s presence in Niger includes ranger and community training as well as working with the government to put conservation measures in place, and with your help, we can continue these critical projects. Donate for a cause that will help the people of Niger, their lands, and their wildlife.
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