Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Catastrophic collapse of Sahara Desert's wildlife

Date:
December 3, 2013
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
A new study warns that the world’s largest tropical desert, the Sahara, has suffered a catastrophic collapse of its wildlife populations.

This shows some of the world's 200 remaining wild addax in Termit and Tin Toumma National Nature Reserve in Niger.
Credit: Copyright Thomas Rabeil and Sahara Conservation Fund

A new study led by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Zoological Society or London warns that the world's largest tropical desert, the Sahara, has suffered a catastrophic collapse of its wildlife populations.

Related Articles


The study by more than 40 authors representing 28 scientific organizations assessed 14 desert species and found that a shocking half of those are regionally extinct or confined to one percent or less of their historical range. A chronic lack of studies across the region due to past and ongoing insecurity makes it difficult to be certain of the causes of these declines, although overhunting is likely to have played a role. The study was published in the early online version of the journal Diversity and Distributions.

The Bubal hartebeest is extinct; the scimitar horned oryx is extinct in the wild; and the African wild dog and African lion have vanished from the Sahara. Other species have only fared slightly better: the dama gazelle and addax are gone from 99 percent of their range; the leopard from 97 percent, and the Saharan cheetah from 90. Only the Nubian ibex still inhabits most of its historical range, but even this species is classified as vulnerable due to numerous threats including widespread hunting.

The authors say that more conservation support and scientific attention needs to be paid to deserts noting that 2014 is the halfway point in the United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification and the fourth year of the United Nations Decade for Biodiversity.

"The Sahara serves as an example of a wider historical neglect of deserts and the human communities who depend on them," said the study's lead author Sarah Durant of WCS and ZSL. "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."

The authors note that some governments have recently made large commitments to protecting the Sahara: Niger has just established the massive 97,000 square kilometer (37,451 square miles) Termit and Tin Toumma National Nature Reserve, which harbors most of the world's 200 or so remaining wild addax and one of a handful of surviving populations of dama gazelle and Saharan cheetah. There is also hope that the scimitar horned oryx may be reintroduced in the wild in the Ouadi Rimι-Ouadi Achim Game Reserve, with the support of the Chadian government.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. M. Durant, T. Wacher, S. Bashir, R. Woodroffe, P. De Ornellas, C. Ransom, J. Newby, T. Abαigar, M. Abdelgadir, H. El Alqamy, J. Baillie, M. Beddiaf, F. Belbachir, A. Belbachir-Bazi, A. A. Berbash, N. E. Bemadjim, R. Beudels-Jamar, L. Boitani, C. Breitenmoser, M. Cano, P. Chardonnet, B. Collen, W. A. Cornforth, F. Cuzin, P. Gerngross, B. Haddane, M. Hadjeloum, A. Jacobson, A. Jebali, F. Lamarque, D. Mallon, K. Minkowski, S. Monfort, B. Ndoassal, B. Niagate, G. Purchase, S. Samaοla, A. K. Samna, C. Sillero-Zubiri, A. E. Soultan, M. R. Stanley Price, N. Pettorelli. Fiddling in biodiversity hotspots while deserts burn? Collapse of the Sahara's megafauna. Diversity and Distributions, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12157

Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Catastrophic collapse of Sahara Desert's wildlife." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203124530.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2013, December 3). Catastrophic collapse of Sahara Desert's wildlife. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203124530.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Catastrophic collapse of Sahara Desert's wildlife." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203124530.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) — A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins