Thursday, 8 November 2012

Arab spring has been a disaster for North Africa’s wildlife

Weapons and motor bikes bad news for wildlife 
Article reproduced courtesy of the Sahara Conservation Fund

November 2012. Thanks to new technologies, the ubiquitous cell phone with built-in camera, and the power of the Internet and social networks, like Facebook, to disseminate information, new facts are coming to light on the impacts of the Arab Spring on North African wildlife.

Sahara Conservation Fund's colleagues in Tunisia, Algeria and Libya have found hundreds of photos showing the goriest scenes of wildlife slaughter on the internet. 
Slender-horned and dorcas gazelles and the Barbary sheep hardest hit
Species hardest hit are the slender-horned and dorcas gazelles and the Barbary sheep, all listed as threatened and restricted to a tiny number of sites. While much of the damage probably took place during the revolutions that toppled the former leaders of Tunisia and Libya, there is good evidence for continued poaching, especially in the deserts of southern Tunisia.
Here, as elsewhere in the Sahara, the new weapons of choice are the motorbike and the quad. Capable of chasing down and exhausting wildlife over the difficult terrain, the motorbike is rapidly becoming the number one scourge of gazelles in even quite isolated places.

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