Fazao-Malfakassa National Park

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West Africa > Togo > Fazao-Malfakassa National Park



Species Pop. Size Data Quality


The Fazao-Malfakassa National Park (FMNP) (08°41'N; 0°46'E) is the largest of two national parks in Togo, covering an area of about 1.920 km². This surface area is approximate since the exact boundaries of the park were never marked and are not known.

No studies on the vegetation cover of the FMNP were ever conducted. However, according to different publications (Bousquet, 1992; Sournia, 1998), the vegetation is quite varied, going from dense forests to savanna. Our observations suggest that dense forests are only found at the southern limit of the park and consist of narrow strips of forests along rivers, which are heavily damaged by uncontrolled poacher’s fire. The dense forests are quickly replaced by a mosaic of dry forest and savanna woodland. The park’s area is mountainous and different mountain chains are present, the main one being the Atakora mountain chain, extending to northern Bénin. The highest peak is 844 m (Sournia, 1998).

Fazao-Malfakassa National Park
Fazao-Malfakassa National Park

In May 1990, the management of the park was given for 25 years to the Franz Weber Foundation (Montreux, Switzerland) by the Togolese government. The foundation is responsible for the protection of the park and has nine forestry brigades to cover the entire area of the park.

Ape status

Chimpanzees were probably extirpated from this area in the mid-1980's.

Conservation activities



In 1971, western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) were reported in the FMNP (Harrisson, 1971), but they are thought to have been extinct in Togo since 1978 (Lee et al., 1988). However, this had not been verified in the field. Until 1998, chimpanzees were still listed on some primate lists for the FMNP (Sournia, 1998). In 2003, during surveys in southern Togo (Campbell, 2005), employees from the “Direction de la faune et de la chasse” in Lomé and several hunters reported sighting of chimpanzees in FMNP. Nevertheless, during further scouting surveys and interviews with locals, no evidence was found to support reports of the presence of western chimpanzees in the FMNP(Campbell and Radley, 2006).

Some hunters believed that chimpanzees could still be found in the park because the Franz Weber Foundation had announced in the 1990’s that they would be releasing retired laboratory chimpanzees into the FMNP (Durlot, 1997). Therefore, some people consider that there are chimpanzees in the FMNP, based on this rumor. However, the Franz Weber Foundation never proceeded with the plan of releasing chimpanzees in the park.

We believe that chimpanzees are now extinct from the FMNP, since no individual was seen or heard and no nests were seen in any area of the park during 296 hours of scouting surveys throughout the park. Based on the data gathered during interviews, chimpanzees have probably disappeared from the FMNP in the mid-1980’s (Campbell and Radley, 2006).


  • Bousquet, B. (1992). Guide des parcs nationaux d’Afrique. Lausanne : Delachaux et Niestlé.
  • Campbell, G. (2005). Distribution, Census and Habitat Preferences of Primate Species in the Dahomey Gap (West Africa), with Particular Emphasis on the Red-bellied Guenon (Cercopithecus erythrogaster erythrogaster). Master’s Thesis. University of Calgary, Alberta.
  • Campbell, G., and Radley, P.M. (2006) Primate and bird diversity in the Fazao-Malfakassa National Park, Togo. Technical report. Conservation International, Washington, D.C.
  • Campbell, G., Teichroeb, J., and Paterson, J.D. (2008). Distribution of Diurnal Primate Species in Togo and Bénin. Folia Primatologica 79(1): 15-30.
  • Durlot, S. (1997). La vie extraordinaire des singes dans le Parc de Fazao-Malfakassa. Journal Franz Weber, 39:20-27.
  • Harrisson, B. (1971). Conservation of nonhuman primates in 1970. In Goldsmith, E.I. and J. Moor-Janowski (Eds), Primates in medecine, vol.5. Basel: Karger.
  • Lee, P.C., Thornback, J., and E.L. Bennett (1988). Threatened Primates of Africa. The IUCN Red Data Book. Gland: IUCN.
  • Sournia, G. (1998). Les aires protégées d’Afrique francophone. Paris: Éditions Jean-Pierre de Monza.
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