Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (1991)

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This is the largest protected area in Africa, covering some 7.7 million ha, though the area considered a protected sanctuary constitutes only one-sixth of the total area. It includes the volcanic rock mass of the Aïr, a small Sahelian pocket, isolated as regards its climate and flora and fauna, and situated in the Saharan desert of Ténéré. The reserves boast an outstanding variety of landscapes, plant species and wild animals. 
  • Niger 1974. First anniversary of the death of the Tree of Ténèrè, a former landmark of the Saharan desert of Ténéré. Behind the tree is a compass rose and, on the right, a camel caravan. 

Niger 1974. First anniversary of the death of the Tree of Ténèrè, a former landmark of the Saharan desert of Ténéré.

In 1992, the site was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. 
The region having recently suffered from military conflict and civil disturbance, the Government of Niger asked the Director-General of UNESCO to launch an appeal for the protection of the site, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991. Six members of the Reserve staff were being held as hostages since February 1992 and, in compliance with the request of Niger's Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, the Committee decided to inscribe the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger. A peace agreement having been signed in April 1995, an IUCN/WWF project has since then been assisting in re- establishing a management regime in the Park.

Niger 1981. Ostrich [Struthio Camelus].

Niger 1981. Arabian Bustard [Ardeotis Arabs]. The findings of a recent mission to the site in the autumn of 1998 have indicated that the numbers of most wildlife species are recovering. 

The flora appears to be intact in most parts, except in some valleys where over-use by local people was noted. 

Some wildlife species like the ostrich however, continue to be seriously threatened by poaching and international trade in live animals and its by-products. 

  • Niger 1981. Ostrich [Struthio Camelus]. 
  • Niger 1981. Arabian Bustard [Ardeotis Arabs]. 

Impact of rebel activities in the area on the integrity of the site has been less severe than expected. The State Party has submitted an emergency program for the rehabilitation of the site and it may be considered for removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1999. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Niger (on this web site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Niger Section for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 20 jul 2006  
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