Gray countries with texture denote areas of future engagement.


Wildlife must survive growing deserts as well as poachers

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  • Quick Facts:


    126,826,020 hectares (489,678 sq. mi.)

  • Key Landmarks

    1. Owu Falls
    2. Zuma Rock
    3. Benin Moat
  • Animals Inhabiting Land

    Saharan cheetah, Niger giraffe, golden jackal, African elephant, Addax antelope

  • Primary Ecosystems

    Savanna, desert

  • Population


    Tags: Niger, West/Central Africa, Regional Parc W, Giraffe, Elephant, Cheetah

  • ParcW Camera AWF
  • West African Giraffe Etotépé Sogbohossou
  • West African Giraffe Julian Fennessey
  • Land for Livestock Stefan de Greling
  • Land for Livestock Stefan de Greling
  • Land for Livestock Stefan de Greling
  • Niger Shana Laursen
  • Niger Stefan de Greling
  • Niger Helen Gichohi

More than 80% of this landlocked country is covered by the Sahara Desert.

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. 


Wildlife suffers from the cruelty of both man and nature.

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.

Priority Landscapes

Will you show Niger your support?

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.


  • ParcW Camera AWF
    Wildlife Waterholes in Parc W
    Preserving wildlife amidst a drought

    Short rainy season proves disastrous for local fauna. 

    In Regional Parc W, 80% of the more than 30 water points are completely dry by March or April. The regular dry...

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    All Projects

  • Land for Livestock Christina Van Winkle
    Land for Livestock
    Balancing the land needs of farmers, herders, and wildlife

    Livestock is a vital livelihood for people in West Africa. So is farming.

    As competition over land and natural resources grows, pressure on protected areas and...

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    All Projects

  • West African Giraffe Etotépé_Sogbohossou
    West African Giraffe Conservation
    Protecting the endangered West African Giraffe

    The West African Giraffe population is dangerously low.

    Once ranging widely from Senegal to Cameroon, the West African giraffe today is found in a small area in Niger...

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    All Projects

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