Miniature Africa (from wetlands, falls, to open forest and savannah)
The Binder-Léré Wildlife Reserve is located in the southwest of Chad, near the border with Cameroon. It covers an area of 135,000 ha marking the transition between Sudanese and Sahelian ecosystems. The Reserve was created in May 1974 by presidential decree. In 2001, the site was classified as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site) and designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA).
The Reserve holds a unique variety of wetlands as well as the country’s largest waters falls, the “Gauthiot Falls”, with a brutal drop of 45 meters. The falls constitute an insurmountable natural barrier for fish species from the Niger basin to the Chad basin. Apart from wetlands, Binder-Léré harbours open forest and gallery forests populated with large trees of the Sudanese savannah and perennial grass. On top of that, the area contains large floodplains which serve as spawning grounds and nursery areas for numerous species of fish, as well as two lakes (Léré́ and Tréné) sheltering a rich Afro-Ethiopian avifauna.
Iconic Sahelian Wildlife
Among the most emblematic fauna, the most unexpected in this Sahelian region is maybe the Manatee, found within the lakes. The Reserve is also home to giraffe, hippopotamus, roan antelope, bohor reedbuck, Oribi and Grimm’s duiker. Since the end of 2006, the ecosystem of the Binder-Léré Wildlife Reserve has hosted the third largest elephant population in Chad, with approximately 125 elephants.
Due to uncontrolled poaching and loss of habitat across the years, most species in the Reserve have decreased to alarming numbers and a swift intervention is needed for their recovery.
This surface might not seem very large, but it is rare to find 100.000 ha of intact Sahelian ecosystem these days
Recognized by Birdlife International as a Zone of importance for the Conservation of Birds.
The Mami Wata is a goddess of the sea and a symbol of wealth and beauty in many African legends.
The third population in Chad and the second viable population being in a protected area.
A small antelope found in eastern, southern and western Africa of 50–67 cm at and 12–22 kg.
People around the Reserve
Over 3 customary chiefdoms; the Gong (traditional Chef Moundang) of Léré, the Gong of Lagon and the Lamido (Traditional Chef Peuhl) of Binder.
km from Cameroon
Movement of people but also migration of animals crossing the border is common and an additional management challenge.
This a relict population of this critically endangered subspecies of giraffe that needs close monitoring to ensure its survival.
How we are realizing the future
The vision for the Reserve is to upgrade the protection status to a National Park, to restore and protect the wildlife populations and their habitat together with the communities who are depending on them.
To do this, protection needs to be ensured, so PDN is currently ensuring:
– Regular aerial surveillance with Wings for Conservation Foundation
– Law enforcement support to existing Law enforcement agents
– The creation of a National Park, to be established, operational and managed by PDN in 2021
Once the park is established PDN is committed to:
– Create and develop the parks infrastructure
– Setting up an inclusive surveillance system, with communities, including an anti-poaching unit, aerial surveillance, a control room connected with field teams and key species equipped with GPS transmitters, to monitor and maintain their numbers and ecosystems
– Organize a massive wildlife translocation operation to refaunate the area
Livelihood and sustainability
The 70.000 people neighbouring the Reserve are being engaged by
– Assimilating communities as park staff and in park governance systems
– Developing a Human-Wildlife Conflict plan
– Setting up Green value chains (agriculture) and structure traditional fisheries
– Support for the agro-pastoral sector and transhumance as a complement to the development of a land-use plan
– Providing environmental education
– Improving basic social services (health, water, etc.)
To ensure more sustainable income for the Reserve in the future, PDN aims to:
– Develop the tourism potential by attracting investors and national and international operators
– Involve agroindustry through a biodiversity compensation scheme