. Gazella leptoceros
English - Slender-horned Gazelle, Rhim
French - Gazelle Leptocère, Gazelle À Cornes Fines, Gazelle À Cornes Fines Des Dunes
Spanish - Gacela De Astas Delgadas
Gazella leptoceros or Slender-horned Gazelle is listed as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2008.
The palest of all gazelle species, the slender-horned gazelle has a creamy-buff upper body, pale brown flank stripe and pure white underside. The dark brown tail contrasts with a pure white rump. Darker bands run from the eyes to the nose, and a rufous stripe runs between the eyes to the nose. The slender-horned gazelle has large and slender ears behind the upright, slightly S-shaped horns. In males the horns are long and thin, reaching 30 to 41 centimetres and clearly ridged. Females' horns, by comparison, reach just 20 to 35 centimetres and are slimmer and smoother. The hooves are broadened to ease travel across sand.
Favours areas of dunes (ergs) and interdunal depressions. Ranges widely in search of ephemeral vegetation.
Occurs across the Sahara, west of the River Nile. Distribution coincides with the larger ergs, though rare or absent on the south-east periphery and apparently absent from the western dune complexes (Devillers et al. 2005). It has disappeared from most of its former range in Egypt’s Western Desert (Saleh 2001, El Alqamy and Baha El Din 2006). A single report from Morocco (Loggers et al. 1992) is unconfirmed.
The center of its distribution is found in the Great Western Erg, the Great Eastern Erg, the sandy zone which stretches from the Hamada de Tinrhert in Algeria to the Fezzan in Libya, and the smaller ergs in the periphery of the central Saharan massifs of the Hoggar and the Tassili des Ajjers (Beudels and Devillers, in press).
It is believed that the slender-horned gazelle was very widely distributed in the Sahara until relatively recently. In the last 10 years, its presence has been confirmed only in the Great Ergs of Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and the extreme Western desert of Egypt. No reports to the south of these locations have been supported by any hard evidence (Beudels and Devillers, in press).
Numbers are believed to have undergone a serious decline due to uncontrolled hunting (Mallon and Kingswood 2001, Devillers et al. 2005). East (1999) estimated that the sub-Saharan Africa population could be as low as a few hundred and was unlikely to exceed a few thousand. Numbers are still declining in some areas mainly due to unregulated hunting. The size of the current population in Egypt and Libya is unknown, but is described as small (El Alqamy and Baha El Din 2006). All populations are reportedly small or very small. There is no recent survey information for several areas of the known range, and other areas of potential habitat such as the sand seas of Libya and western Algeria that have been poorly surveyed.
The main threat is hunting/poaching, though disturbance and degradation of natural habitats (especially erg vegetation) through desertification also has a negative impact (Devillers et al. 2005).
It is listed on CMS Appendix I and is included in the CMS Action Plan for Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes.
Known to occur in Djebil National Park and Senghar National Park in Tunisia, Tassili des Ajjers National Park in Algeria (where reported from the Erg of T'im Merzouga; K. de Smet pers. comm. 2007), and possibly the Aïr-Ténéré National Nature Reserve (Niger). The species is present in about 20 collections in North Africa, Europe and North America (Devillers et al. 2005). The total number in captivity is <200.