Status of Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas) in the area south of green mountain, Libya in 2007: challenges and opportunities for the future

  • Walid Algadafi
  • Christopher Hugh Young
  • Lynn Besenyei
  • Catherine Mary Tobin
  • Joma Ifhima


Threats to Dorcas gazelle were examined and the rate of decrease in population was estimated in the area south of the Green Mountain in North-East Libya. The results were collected from questionnaires and focal interviews. All previous studies had reported significant decreased in Dorcas gazelle population throughout Libya during the last years of the twentieth century. The results showed that Dorcas gazelle continues to exist but in very low numbers. The number of groups of gazelle has decreased and the estimated rate of decline has increased to between 60 and 90 % in 2007. The decline has been noticeable with typical herd sizes of approximately 50 – 100 gazelle being reported before 1970, 10 – 15 gazelle seen in the 1970s, 5 – 10 gazelle in the 1980s and from the 1990s onwards, group sizes of only 3 or fewer gazelles. Shared use of habitat with domestic sheep and predators does not appear to be detrimental to Dorcas gazelle, but the main threat for this animal is humans, who lack awareness of its natural value. Some respondents believed that Dorcas gazelle had left their habitat and migrated to other safe areas, but this study showed that the number of Dorcas gazelle was decreasing rapidly, mainly because of overhunting. Further research is needed into the current distribution and numbers of surviving Dorcas gazelle. Aerial and ground surveys of areas of potential habitat should be carried out to establish the current status and distribution. There is an urgent need for the implementation of management programme to conserve the gazelle involving the participation of local people.

Keywords: Gazella dorcas, Green Mountain, North-East Libya, Questionnaire survey, Conservation, Hunting


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eISSN: 1597-3115