From Wildlife Extra:
Barbary sheep, caracal and poachers also caught on camera
October 2013. Listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Dama gazelle is one of the world’s rarest and most endangered antelopes. Formerly common across its grassland habitats of the Sahelian zone of Africa, it now only exists in a small handful of tiny, isolated populations in Niger and Chad.
Overhunting means just 300 Dama gazelle left in the wild
With overhunting by far the major cause for its demise, the Dama gazelle is also prone to encroachment of its preferred habitats by livestock development and agriculture, as well by severe drought and desertification. In all, there are probably no more than 300 Dama gazelles in the wild today.
Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) has been working to conserve the gazelle for several years and the need for more nonintrusive ways of monitoring the presence and distribution of this shy and highly vulnerable species are urgently required to formulate viable management plans.
In recent years, hunters from the local population of Toubou pastoralists have been the gazelles’ main threat, with animals being shot opportunistically in ones and twos. Work with the herders and their community leaders is, however, having a positive impact.
Recognizing the value of working closely with the local people to conserve the gazelle, the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute recently donated $10,000 to employ community game guards with a Dama gazelle-specific mandate to work with the local community. The two guards were recruited from among the local Toubou people to help SCF in its efforts to raise awareness locally about the plight of the Dama gazelle and serve as both ambassadors and protectors for the Dama conservation effort. The guards provide a vital link between SCF and the local people and their activities include assisting in the installation and maintenance of the camera trap grids.
The first batch of data from the camera traps is just now being analysed. As could be expected, other species besides the Dama gazelle have been caught on camera. We are particularly thrilled to report sightings of both the Barbary sheep and the locally very rare and elusive African lynx or caracal. Also captured on camera are armed poachers looking no doubt for Barbary sheep and Dama gazelles. The images was [sic] taken just several hours apart.
With this type of data and information we are far better set than before to identify hotspots for extra surveillance and key areas of passage used by the animals as they move between areas of grazing, shade, etc.
The impact that visual evidence of wildlife presence and threats is also a key factor in mobilizing support locally for action and increased vigilance.
December 2013: The world’s largest tropical desert, the Sahara, has suffered a catastrophic collapse of its wildlife populations according to a study led by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Zoological Society of London: here.
- Fast Fact Attack: Endangered Species No. 36 – The Dama Gazelle (mungaiandthegoaconstrictor.me)
- Cameras capture Sumatran rhino in Indonesian Borneo (terradaily.com)
- Australian endangered species: Lesser Stick-nest Rat (theconversation.com)
- New Trip Reports from Coke Smith: Tunisia, Spain and Italy (mammalwatching.wordpress.com)
- Good news for Rhino’s (christopherjgervais.wordpress.com)
- London Zoo Announces Birth of Endangered Tiger Cub (abcnews.go.com)
- Dama Gazelle (zbnews.wordpress.com)
- Emptying the desert (newswatch.nationalgeographic.com)
- Catastrophic Decline in Sahara’s Wildlife Population, Study Cautions (scienceworldreport.com)