Conservation initiatives

1. The Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF)

Per se, this initiative has played a core role in spearheading major Sahara conservation efforts. The founders of this program recognized that the once abundant Saharan wildlife is quickly fading away as the international community stands by. They have strived to preserve the few remaining wildlife, create a global awareness of the richness of the Sahara, and educating Saharan communities on how to harness natural resources without compromising natural ecobalance. SCF has partnered with numerous zoos across the globe to accommodate and restore endangered species some of which would otherwise be extinct today.

2. Antelope Conservation

Currently 25 of the 91 antelope species in the world are deemed endangered; 5 of which are assigned a critical status. The Saharan Dama gazelle is one of them. Numbering over 10,000 strong in the 1960s, the Dama gazelles have been reduced to a staggering less than 500 scattered all over the Sahelo-Saharan region due to their nomadic lifestyle. The Oakland Zoo currently houses this gazelle. Several other programs include Direction des Parcs Nationaux in Senegal, Spain’s Parque de Rescate de la Fauna Sahariana and Exotic Wildlife Association, USA. They have partnered with SCF and zoos to help conserve, reintroduce and protect Saharan wildlife, largely the antelope population of scimitar-horned oryxes, bustards, addaxes, Dama and Dorcas gazelles.

3. Ostrich Conservation

Mostly based in Niger and Morocco, conservationists launched international campaigns and local Sahara conservation efforts appealing for the preservation of the North-African ostriches. Several milestones have been made including local programs, constant surveys of ostrich population and migration patterns, health checks, and partnering with zoos to promote husbandry, conservation and successful reintroduction. The new Adopt-an-Ostrich Program seeks to raise funds, $500 per ostrich per year, to cater to proper care of Saharan ostriches that are pure-bred in US zoos.

4. Carnivore Conservation

SCF in conjunction with Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and other NGOs provide help to the rare Saharan cheetahs, jackals, foxes, small cat species, caracals and spotted hyenas among others. Local nomadic herders are in constant clash with livestock predators and have resulted to killing these carnivores. Intensive surveys aimed at understanding carnivore lifestyle are undertaken and strategies to address human-wildlife conflict determined. Various zoos have embraced the projects while local authorities have taken groundbreaking measures to assess and tackle the crises.
These are just but a few of the numerous conservation actions aimed at long-term protection of the diverse Saharan wildlife and endangered species. Constant surveys provide data and tangible action plans for durable and balanced Sahara conservation efforts.