Save the Addax

  • by: Edo R
  • recipient: International Union for Conservation of Nature

The addax (Addax nasomaculatus), also known as the white antelope and the screwhorn antelope, is an antelope of the genus Addax, that lives in the Sahara desert. The addax is a critically endangered species of antelope, as classified by the IUCN. Although extremely rare in its native habitat due to unregulated hunting, it is quite common in captivity. The addax was once abundant in North Africa, native to Chad, Mauritania and Niger. It is extinct in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Sudan and western Sahara. It has been reintroduced in Morocco and Tunisia.

Decrease in the population of the addax has begun notably since the mid-1800s. More recently, addax were found from Algeria to Sudan, but due mainly to overhunting, they have become much more restricted and rare. Addax are easy to hunt due to their slow movements. Roadkill, firearms for easy hunting and nomadic settlements near waterholes (their dry-season feeding places) have also decreased numbers. Moreover, their meat and leather are highly prized. Other threats include chronic droughts in the deserts, habitat destruction due to more human settlements and agriculture. Less than 500 individuals are thought to exist in the wild today, most of the animals being found between the Termit area of Niger and the Bodélé region of western Chad.

Today there are over 600 addax in Europe, Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve (Israel), Sabratha (Libya), Giza Zoo (Egypt), North America, Japan and Australia under captive breeding programmes. There are 1000 more in private collections and ranches in United States and the Middle East. Addax is legally protected in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria; hunting of all gazelles is forbidden in Libya and Egypt. Although enormous reserves, such as the Hoggar Mountains and Tasilli in Algeria, the Ténéré in Niger, the Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Faunal Reserve in Chad, and the newly established Wadi Howar National Park in Sudan cover areas where addax previously occurred, some do not keep addax any more due to less resources. The addax has been reintroduced in Bou Hedma National Park (Tunisia) and Souss-Massa National Park (Morocco). The first reintroduction in the wild is ongoing in Jebil National Park (Tunisia), Grand Erg Oriental (Sahara) and another is planned in Morocco.

Source: Wikipedia

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