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Safaridude

Pendjari National Park, Benin - January 2015

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jeremie

@@Rwenzori

 

Very worrying. If what written in that article is true it seems that as we speak Pendjari is very weakly guarded due to political pressures made by poachers and wildlife traffickers. Dreadful.

 

@@Safaridude

 

True and concerning the elephants has been demonstrated by the last MIKE report.

WAP needs better management as funds are here (even if insuficient).

Edited by jeremie

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wenchy

Awesome trip report. Such handsome roan bulls.

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Rwenzori

For those who do not speak French:

 

http://en.gabonews.com/en/news/environment/article/slaughter-of-wildlife-in-benin-last-threatened

 

"...the surveillance of the National Pendjari Park seems suspended since the beginning of this year."

 

"...Amadou Akpana, a guide, who organizes visits of ecotourism in the Pendjari Park since more than 20 years explains that the Park is more threatened than ever. "Many antelope carcasses are scattered in the park and elephants have been killed as well."

 

"Whilst financial supports for managing and protecting the Park are important (European Union, German cooperation, IUCN), they’re not properly deployed on the ground."

 

"Indeed it seems that complicities with poachers are quite real and that some authorities are benefiting from leaving the Park under no surveillance."

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Safaridude

During my stay, I did not see any signs of poaching. My last day in the park was January 20th. On the 19th, I saw park rangers.

 

What I am hearing is that the surveillance was suspended some time shortly after I left and continued that way for about a month. Apparently, things are back to normal now.

 

Difficult to know exactly what went on, but I do hope things are fixed. I desperately want to go back.

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egilio

Maybe @@Safaridude could contact some people who work in Pendjari to share sightings of wild dogs and cheetahs here: http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/cheetah-and-wild-dog-spotting

It's for the range-wide cheetah and wild dog monitoring program.

 

Here's more from the original email:

 

 

If you prefer not to upload your sightings so publicly please send them to us by email for inclusion in our own Range Wide Conservation Program database. Even if your sightings are old they are still very valuable as long as they are dated and can be located well. (Particularly important are sightings from unusual locations).

It’s really useful if you’ve taken a picture with a camera with GPS / geotagging (and switched on) because the website can then automatically take the location coordinates. This is only achieved if on the right hand side of the form (after you’ve clicked ‘Add Observation’) you first upload your photo and then click “Sync obs. w/ photo metadata”. This will remove much of the error from locating the sighting.

If you don’t have a geotagged photo you can locate your sighting ‘manually’ on the map by clicking on it and zooming in.

Thanks very much for helping us to spread the word on this project. We hope to hear from you on your experience of using the webpage...

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TonyQ

@@Safaridude

Thank you for a great report - fascinating!

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Soukous

What a terrific report @@Safaridude, more like a mini guidebook than a TR.

I have been away myself and only following sporadically - saving the treat of a proper read for my return. I'm glad that I did. I found it much nicer to read the report from start to finish than in bits and I really liked the style you adopted.

 

I've been to Benin, but that was 34 years ago now, and still have fond memories. Maybe it is time to return.

Crikey, my list of West African destinations is getting a bit long. A few extra months in the year would help.

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Nicholls Wildlife Art

Another great trip report. Beautiful bushbuck and roan. And those buffalo too - very interesting to see the differences and the similarities to the southern and East African animals we know so much better. I'm glad I was able to read this whole TR in one go - great stuff!

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ZaminOz

@@Safaridude

very interesting. thanks for sharing.

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Safaridude

Some interesting photographic comparisons now of some of the West African subspecies/races. Keep in mind that the color variations are not always representative -- things like the time of day the photo was taken, the correct white balance, saturation, etc. make a difference.

 

But here are startling comparisons of roan antelope from three different places in Africa:

 

gallery_6003_918_502918.jpg

"Southern roan" - Kafue National Park, Zambia - note the rufous color

 

gallery_6003_1119_889323.jpg

"Southern roan" - Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe - south of the Zambezi River, roan antelopes tend to be slightly more grey (this individual is a striking case… others are slightly more rufous). "Splitters" consider the southern roan north of the Zambezi and south of the Zambezi to be of different races; "aggregators" do not.

 

gallery_6003_1198_621247.jpg

"Western roan" - Pendjari National Park, Benin - note the deep brick coat, a "blacker" mask extending down the throat and more conspicuous dark markings on the front legs and chest.

Edited by Safaridude

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Safaridude

gallery_6003_1018_542738.jpg

Puku (Kobus vardoni) - Kafue National Park, Zambia

 

gallery_6003_1018_102784.jpg

Uganda kob (Kobus kob thomasi), Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

 

gallery_6003_1203_185319.jpg

Western kob (or Buffon's kob) (Kobus kob kob) - a duller version of the Uganda kob

 

The puku and kob are officially considered to be separate species. Some "aggregators" consider them conspecific.

Edited by Safaridude

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Safaridude

gallery_6003_401_624710.jpg

Lelwel hartebeest - Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

 

 

gallery_6003_1198_288297.jpg

Western hartebeest - Pendjari National Park, Benin - note the white stripe connecting the eyes.

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twaffle

The Western roan is a stand out in the beauty stakes. Lovely comparison, thanks.

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michael-ibk

Thanks, @@Safaridude , a great read as always. Insightful, written like an essay and wonderful photos of many species never seen on Safaritalk. Please do return and show us those lions! :)

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Sangeeta

Wholly endorse twaffle's remark - that western roan alone is worth the trek to Pendjari.

 

Your Murchison's Lelwel is a handsome brute too - slightly crazy eyed, but no worse than a wildie!

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Atravelynn

Word of this report has spread far and wide so I am happy to be checking it out at last.

"Benin is one such gem (by the way, do you even know how to pronounce it?)"

A little help for anyone answering no.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Benin

 

Since we're discussing francophones, Magnifique is how I'll describe your Western roan antelope shots.

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SafariChick

Finally got to finishing this very appealing report, @@Safaridude - thanks for reporting on a lesser-known area and one that does indeed sound very worth saving.

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Atravelynn

Are you an aggregator or a splitter? Your "quote of the trip" had me laughing. That one is hard to beat.

 

The Abyssinian roller and the Blue Bellied Roller are both exquisite birds. I know you're more of an antelope guy, but I'm sure you admired these.

 

Thank you for sharing Pendjari National Park with us and in many cases acquainting us with this destination. Jolinaiko Eco Tours is a winner. I know you mentioned painstaking research, but how did you choose this company?

Edited by Atravelynn

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Safaridude

Are you an aggregator or a splitter? Your "quote of the trip" had me laughing. That one is hard to beat.

 

The Abyssinian roller and the Blue Bellied Roller are both exquisite birds. I know you're more of an antelope guy, but I'm sure you admired these.

 

Thank you for sharing Pendjari National Park with us and in many cases acquainting us with this destination. Jolinaiko Eco Tours is a winner. I know you mentioned painstaking research, but how did you choose this company?

 

@@Atravelynn

 

Intellectually, I am an aggregator. From a safari experience perspective, I am a splitter!

 

The quote of the trip was the line of the decade. I was in stitches. You should have been there. You would have coughed up your liver laughing.

 

Those rollers are indeed special.

 

I chose Jolinaiko, because (1) they have plenty of experience with Pendjari; (2) they do seemless tours from Cotonou to Pendjari and back (most operators operate out of Natitingou, not Cotonou, where international travelers fly into; (3) they speak English; and (4) I had confidence in their vehicle (they showed photographs of the vehicle and described the conditions). Indeed, Jolinaiko was a winner.

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Atravelynn

 

? Your "quote of the trip" had me laughing. That one is hard to beat.

 

@@Atravelynn

 

 

The quote of the trip was the line of the decade. I was in stitches. You should have been there. You would have coughed up your liver laughing.

 

 

Once again that "Line of the Decade" including context.

 

Male lions in this part of the world do not grow full manes, and adult males can look immature. One evening, a German family staying at Pendjari Lodge saw a male lion attempting to hunt buffalo near Mare Fogou. The father in the family was recounting the action at dinner, and I asked, already knowing the answer, if the male lion had a full mane. He answered in broken English, “no, in fact, he, uh, how do you say, uh, he, uh looked like he was f***ed up.”

 

All good reasons to choose Jolinaiko.

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Abena

I'm really loving your TR, @@Safaridude! Looking forward to reading more! Your photos are fantastic and the descriptions are really informative. Interested to hear if you saw any large carnivores. And as others have said, on the logistics of getting there.

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Abena

I finished reading your report (sorry, I'd missed the additional pages at first!) - fantastic. How fun it would be to organize a ST West African safari! The entire trip to Pendjari sounds amazing. Going at the time of year you chose sounds like the best plan too. Let me know if you and/or others are considering a trip somewhere in West Africa in 2016 - I will most likely be in Ghana and I might tag along....

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Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-38604000-1431876228_thumb.jpg post-49296-0-63655600-1431876244_thumb.jpg

~ @@Safaridude

 

Strictly top-of-the-line.

Such gorgeous images showcasing the species to maximum effect.

I greatly admire your aesthetic taste.

Tom K.

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Atravelynn

It was perfection: the finest French food and wine; a herd of buffalos watering below; a warm, starlit night beginning to be cooled by a hint of Harmattan. “Je suis Benin! Je suis Pendjari!”

What a ending! Thanks for informing me about Harmattan winds. You're reports are always highly educational and expand the horizons of even the well traveled readers here.

 

You have loads of great photos taken under challenging conditions with the tall grasses you describe that impair the view. One photo with no grass to interfere that I really liked was your "Dining Area at Night." Pendjari Lodge might even like a copy of that one!

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