The photographic traps set up in the Termit Massif in the Termit and Tin-Toumma Nature Reserve in Niger allowed for a precise monitoring of dorcas gazelles in 2022. The analysis of the data collected leads to an estimate of 1.37 gazelles/km², which corresponds to about 4,100 dorcas gazelles in the Termit Massif, with an area of about 2,500km². This is the first time that an assessment has been made with such precision in this reserve, using Camera Traps Distance Sampling.
Even though this estimate covers less than 3% of the reserve area, it certainly indicates the highest concentration of gazelles in the reserve. Although it is not possible to determine the size of the population in such a large protected area with these results alone, it is reasonable to assume a total population 2 to 3 times bigger in the protected area as a whole. This new estimate is higher than the one made in 2018 which reported 3,000 to 5,000 dorcas gazelles, and this rise can probably be attributed to the Noé’s management which has now been in place for 4 years.This analysis highlights the concentration of gazelles in the Termit Massif, which is less affected by poaching pressure, conflicts with domestic fauna, particularly the camel herds, etc.
The dorcas gazelle, the smallest of the Saharan bovids, is classified as a vulnerable species in the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its range corresponds to the Sahara, from Morocco to Egypt. The docas gazelle is extremely fast with a top speed of 75 km/h and is capable of making bouncing leaps several times in a row, up to 1.75m high, and over a length of about 6 meters. Its natural predators in the reserve are cheetah, African wolf and striped hyena. However, they are mainly poached for their meat, and captured to be sold as ornamental animals in the gardens of villas in the sub-region.
These results provide an accurate estimate, which allows for regular monitoring to determine the evolution of the population of this key species in the Sahelo-Saharan landscapes of the reserve, and the pressures that weigh on it.