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Global Ideas

Coexistence in the river delta

At the border between Togo and Benin, coexistence between people and animals hasn't been easy. A new biosphere reserve is helping.

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Project goal: Establishing a biosphere reserve in the delta region of the Mono river
Project duration: 2013 to 2019
Project size: Eight smaller areas in a strip 100km wide and 150 km long across the delta region
Species: Gallery forests, mangroves, hippos, sea cows, antelopes, red-bellied guenons, buffalos and several water birds

The delta region of the Mono river at the border between Benin and Togo is home to hippos, buffalos and marshbucks. The small West African countries have a total of 16 million inhabitants and the birth rate is very high. With 80 percent of the locals depending on farming, fishing and the timber industry the region's environment and biodiversity are increasingly under pressure. Local NGOs and German development corporation GIZ are now trying to protect some coastal waters to give fish stocks a chance to recover. They are also turning former wildlife hunters into game wardens and boosting eco-tourism activities to give people an alternative to exploiting their environment.

A film by Christian Pricelius

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