Research Article

Can Addax and Oryx be saved in the Sahel?

John Newbya1

a1 Gledmar, Caistor Road, Market Rasen, Lines LN8 3JA.


Very few reserves exist to protect the arid-lands fauna of West Africa, particularly in the sub-desert zone, and the large mammals, such as addax, scimitar-horned oryx and dama gazelle are disappearing. New reserves are planned but they could be too late. Many permanent waterholes have been dug, and the nomads (and their livestock) tend to stay near them, depriving the wild animals of their traditional dry-season haunts. Firearms have made hunting easier, and the slow-running desert animals cannot compete with motor vehicles – many die of heat exhaustion, calves are abandoned in the chase and unborn young aborted. Rational utilisation of wildlife could be of immense benefit to the people, but protection is the first priority. To achieve this FPS and PTES have launched an appeal for the scimitarhorned oryx.


John Newby has been working in Chad and Niger since 1971 on the protection and conservation of the wildlife of the arid lands. In 1974 he was the first to alert conservationists to the effects on wildlife of digging permanent waterholes for the nomads' livestock. In 1976 the FPS 100% Fund made him a grant to support his anti-poaching work in the Sahel.