Tuesday, 10 May 2016

There are only three Saharan Addaxes left in the wild

 MAY 8, 2016

by Susanna Pilny

A new survey has discovered that type of antelope known as the Saharan Addax has been pushed “to the very knife-edge of extinction”—as it found that there are only three left in the Nigerien wild, according to an IUCN report.

The survey involved an extensive search in March across key areas of the Addaxes’ main habitat, Niger. Teams spent 18 hours performing aerial surveys—involving Intelligence Reconnaissance and Surveillance (IRS) technologies, including infra-red capture, and ultra-high resolution cameras that can distinguish different antelope species from the air—but could not locate a single Addax via this method.

A ground search had more success. After traversing more than 430 miles (700 km) in areas where there had been reports of Addax tracks in the past six months, they were able to find one small, apparently nervous group of three Addax—a drastic difference from just six years ago in 2010, when a survey estimated the wild population in Niger at about 200 animals.

The IUCN believes they know why the population here has plummeted so drastically: The oil installations operated by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) paired with habitat encroachment and loss has led to massive disturbances, and the soldiers who protect the oil industry have been poaching the Addax as well.

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