Niger is home to some of the rarest desert species on earth, including the critically endangered addax antelope, of which there are fewer than 100 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 unsustainable development as well as continued poaching.
While Niger has a number of national parks and protected areas, the majority of its people don’t see 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.
Once ranging widely from Senegal to Cameroon, the West African giraffe today is limited to an isolated population in the south-western corner of Niger. The herds roam in a “transitional zone” outside of Regional Parc W, meaning it is not formally protected. The herds share this land with many villages, and human-giraffe conflict is becoming a pressing issue.
Habitat is being cleared for crop cultivation and as natural resources and vegetation disappear giraffes are forced to search for other sources of food, often raiding farmer’s fields, which results in retaliatory killings. Since 2008, the subspecies was listed as endangered, and there are only an estimated 607 individuals remaining in the wild.
Best time for wildlife viewing in Niger
The most recommended and best time to visit Niger for a holiday is from the month of January to February as well as from July to December when there is hardly any rainfall and the temperatures are hot. April experiences the highest-average temperatures of 42°C while the lowest average temperatures of 34°C are experienced in January.