Noah’s ark of the Sahara
The Termit and Tin-Toumma National Nature Reserve was created on March 6, 2012, and is one of the largest terrestrial Protected Areas in Africa, stretching from the typical Saharan sand dunes in the north to the Sahelian shrublands in the south. With the exception of a few days a year, water is present only in the subsoil and in plants. Both animals and the mainly nomadic human population therefore congregate in the same areas with the very scarce water and woody resources.
Thanks to its isolation and difficult access, the reserve has become a natural refuge for almost the entire chain of wild species (a part from the Oryx and the North African Ostrich) found nowhere else.
This includes the world’s last Addax population, the largest population of Dama gazelle in the world, one of the last two populations of Niger’s Barbary sheep and the last population of Cheetahs in the Niger. The Reserve is also home to 133 species of birds and is therefore classified as a Zone of Importance for the Conservation of Birds by Birdlife International.
a World Heritage
Termit Tin Toumma is also in the process of being classified as World Heritage by UNESCO holding the second oldest known site in Africa of the Iron Age (rock paintings from – 3000 years BC in Egaro), the largest African Neolithic necropolis (Gobero) and the largest paleontological fossil site in the Sahara (Gadafawa).
This is the enormous surface area of the Reserve which is one of largest in Africa
Recognized by Birdlife International as a Zone of importance for the Conservation of Birds.
Last wild Addax
This is a rough estimate of the most threatened and highly migratory species of antelopes.
A small and common gazelle that can get all the moisture it needs from the plants it eats.
Northwest African cheeaths
Smaller than the other African cheetahs with whiter face and spots black to light brown.
Nomadic people in the Reserve
There are few permanent settlements or all-weather roads in the Reserve
The presence of so many different carnivore species show a still healthy ecosystem.
This critically endangered species is a national symbol and used by the Niger national football team.
How we are realizing the future
The Reserve’s vision is to reinforce current populations of unique desert species on the brink of extinction and reintroduce the scimitar-horned Oryx and the North African Ostrich.
To do this protection needs to be ensured, so PDN is currently :
– building the parks infrastructure (HQ and Airstrips),
– setting up a sound surveillance system, including community surveillance, Anti-Poaching Unit, Rapid intervention Team, Control Room connected with all field teams 24/7, as well as an Aerial surveillance system intcluding Solar Drones.
Apart from protection, habitat needs to be monitored and restored, were needed, through :
– Regeneration of the seed banks in the soil
– Increased protection of micro-habitats (water reserves, rich vegetation, large trees)
– Monitoring of distribution and densities of existing flagship species
– Reintroduction of endangered and extinct species
Livelihood and sustainability
At the same time the 2500 nomads in the Reserve as well as the 50.000 people neighbouring the Reserve are being engaged by – Assimilating communities as park staff (70%) and in park governance systems
– Setting up a sustainable regional pastoralism programme (vaccinations, wells)
– Supporting the Educational sector, reducing early marriages (<13 yrs) and building capacity for biodiversity conservation
– Support a network of health posts
To ensure more sustainable income for the Reserve in the future, PDN aims to:
– Ensure the oil industry operating in the periphery of the Reserve is contribute to its management
– Ensure livestock management support in return of a “licence fee”
– Explore income generating activities through community hunting and tourism for biodiversity, culture and archaeology (dinosaur bones, rock carvings, Neolithic sites of the Iron Age).