Endangered Animals in Sudan

Written by amanda delgado
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Endangered Animals in Sudan
Wild dog populations have declined in much of Africa. (wild dog image by Xavier MARCHANT from Fotolia.com)

The northeast African country of Sudan contains desert regions in the north, plains in the central area and mountains in the far south. These diverse geographic terrains support a variety of wildlife, although ongoing wars between the people of northern and southern Sudan have contributed to population declines. The country's military unrest also makes it difficult for wildlife experts to conduct surveys on threatened species.

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Nile Lechwe

Nile lechwe, or kobus megaceros, inhabit the floodplains and swamps of southern Sudan. The males of this antelope species measure up to 3.4 feet at the shoulders and weigh up to 120 Kilogram. Female lechwe reach shoulder heights of 2.8 feet and weigh up to 89.8 Kilogram. Adult males have dark brown colouring with a white patch on the shoulders, while females have golden brown fur.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the Nile lechwe as endangered in 2008 due to a population decline of more than 50 per cent over a 21-year period. The main threats to this species include civil war among the Sudanese people, residential and commercial development, hunting, competition with livestock for food sources and oil exploration in the Sudd swamps. Although protected areas for Nile lechwe exist, cattle also use this land and lechwe often wander outside of the boundaries.

African Wild Dog

African wild dogs live in the forests, savannahs, grasslands and shrublands south of the Sahara Desert. Other names for this canid species include Cape Hunting dog and painted dog. They have large, rounded ears, long legs and a colourful coat made up of black, brown and white markings. Adults measure between 24 and 30 inches at the shoulders and weigh between 16.8 and 27.2 Kilogram. They form strong social bonds within their packs and perform greeting ceremonies before setting out to hunt.

IUCN first listed African wild dogs as endangered in 1990. Although no accurate Sudan population counts exist, the Namibia Nature Foundation estimates that about 50 dogs live in the southern part of the country. Threats include conflicts with humans, infectious diseases spread by domestic dogs and habitat fragmentation. No specific conservation measures exist for wild dogs, although large reserves help provide safe areas for them to roam. Legal protection is not heavily enforced throughout the dogs' range.

Slender-horned Gazelle

Slender-horned gazelles inhabit the scrubland and desert regions of northwestern Sudan. This antelope species has broad hooves and pale, cream-coloured fur with a white belly and flank stripe. Adult gazelles stand between 2.1 and 2.4 feet at shoulder height and weigh between 20 and 29.9 Kilogram. They feed mainly on grasses, acacia leaves, herbs and bush leaves.

IUCN originally listed slender-horned gazelles as Endangered in 1990. The total population estimate for the gazelle's entire African range as of 2008 was less than 2,500 adults. IUCN states that population data for subpopulations, including those in Sudan, is scarce, but estimates that individual populations consist of fewer than 250 adults. The main threats to the gazelles include uncontrolled hunting, poaching and habitat degradation. Conservation measures include legal protection and captive breeding programs.

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