Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Sahara's wildlife has suffered severe declines

  • Written by  Olivia Edward
  • Published in Wildlife
Nubian Ibexes Nubian Ibexes Shutterstock
01 Feb
2014
The Sahara Desert has suffered a catastrophic collapse of its wildlife populations, according to a new study led by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological Society of London

A team of more than 40 scientists representing 28 organisations assessed 14 desert species and found that half are regionally extinct or confined to one per cent or less of their historical range. Among the species that have disappeared are the Bubal hartebeest, which is now extinct; the scimitar horned oryx, which is extinct in the wild; and the African wild dog and African lion, which are both locally extinct in the Sahara. The dama gazelle and addax are found in only one per cent of their historical range. Only the Nubian ibex still inhabits most of its historical range, but the species is classified as vulnerable.

The cause of the declines is unclear as there has been a chronic lack of studies across the region due to past and ongoing insecurity; however, the study’s authors suggest that hunting is likely to have played a role.

‘The Sahara serves as an example of a wider historical neglect of deserts and the human communities who depend on them,’ said lead author Sarah Durant. ‘The scientific community can make an important contribution to conservation in deserts by establishing baseline information on biodiversity and developing new approaches to sustainable management of desert species and ecosystems.’

This story was published in the February 2014 edition of Geographical Magazine

Related items

Subscribe and Save!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Geophoto

Mountains provide a dramatic sight at the best of times,…

Wildlife

A surge in reports of dead hares has resulted in…

Oceans

Four scientists have banded together to make the case against the farming of octopuses, arguing…

Climate

As planetary oil consumption hits the 100-million-barrel mark Marco Magrini…

Oceans

A ship that ran aground early in February has been…

Wildlife

Two whale populations on either side of the African continent…

Geophoto

March traditionally heralds the beginning of spring, a time of…

Wildlife

An innovative project to utilise Laos’ elephant experts in service…

Polar

Despite common belief that Antarctica is vastly uninhabited, humans are…

Wildlife

Javan rhinos survived the recent Krakatoa tsunami, but the species…

Energy

As the world turns away from fossil fuels, one question…

Geophoto

The winners of the Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2018…

Climate

New legislation in Florida aims to solve various environmental issues,…

Polar

The world’s magnetic model is getting an early update, as…

Climate

Marco Magrini looks at the financial pressures spilling out into the…

Geophoto

Few sights are more dramatic than a star-filled sky at…

Polar

A region of Antarctica previously known for relative stability is…

Tectonics

Everything we thought we knew about eruptions could be wrong

Oceans

Sea levels are rising across the globe, but along the…

Polar

Seismometers buried in the Ross Ice Shelf have revealed that…