Identifying New Saharan Conservation Hotspots
In partnership with the Sahara Conservation Fund, the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Smithsonian Institute, ZSL has played a key role in identifying remaining Saharan conservation hotspots over the past five years.
ZSL has assisted with protected area development and an array of conservation management, training and research activities in six different Saharan countries. In 2009, ZSL researchers were involved in the first formal gazelle survey of the Algerian Erg Oriental, which confirmed the continuity and extent of the slender-horned gazelle populations surveyed in the previous year in neighbouring Tunisia. This provided a genuine trans-border element to efforts to protect this endangered dune specialist, which is increasingly affected by exploration and development by the oil industry.
A similar problem is emerging around the last-known viable addax population in Niger, where routine monitoring supported by ZSL has produced excellent insight into ecology and ongoing impacts on this elusive and critically endangered species. The information is contributing directly to nationally supported plans to institute formal protection of critical addax habitats.