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Gourma Biosphere Reserve

News from the Mali Elephant Project
In late May, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a law that could lead to the creation of one of the world’s largest protected areas in the Gourma region of this West African country. The proposal soon to be placed before the National Assembly would create the new Gourma Biosphere Reserve encompassing more than 42,000 square kilometers (16,000 square miles) of land, an area that ranks higher in size than that of 50 distinct countries and is equivalent in size to Switzerland. They did so in order to protect the last of the Sahelian elephants. Discover more about the Reserve’s potential in the resources provided on this page.

Learn more about the Biosphere Reserve

New Biosphere Reserve in Mali, West Africa Ranks Higher in Area Size Than 50 Countries

The new reserve will be 4,263,320 hectares (just over 10,500,000 acres), about the size of Switzerland or almost 5x the size of Yellowstone National Park; and represents a 26% increase in protected area coverage for Mali!

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Protecting Nature to foster local solutions to global challenge

In this post we explore how the Biosphere Reserve fits into an important global picture of the critical need for natural areas. This need has been made more evident by the COVID-19 pandemic that has raised awareness of how degraded ecosystems increase human vulnerability to catastrophic events.

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Protecting Elephants Protects Humans

Local people in the remote, arid lands of West Africa understand that they are embedded in the web of life – like elephants and all species – and dependent upon its integrity. Watch this animation as we explore the importance of Community-centered conservation that benefits both elephants and people.

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Download & share the MEP infographic

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