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Overview and update about the oryx project in Chad

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Presented during the 17h Annual Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group Meeting organized by the NGO Sahara Conservation Fund in Senegal, from 4 to 6 May 2017. The Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) gathers every year about a hundred people who are interested in the field of Sahelo-Saharan species conservation.

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Overview and update about the oryx project in Chad

  1. 1. 17th Annual Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group Meeting 2 days of talks on biodiversity conservation in the Sahara and in the Sahel Overview and update about the oryx project in Chad John NEWBY, Chief Executive Officer – Sahara Conservation Fund May 4 – 6, 2017
  2. 2. Saving Saharan Wildlife Return of the Scimitar-horned Oryx to Chad John Newby Sahara Conservation Fund
  3. 3. project partners with technical support from Justin Chuven (EAD) Tim Wacher (ZSL) Jared Stabach (SCBI) Mahamat Hassan Hatcha (DCFAP) Adam Eyres (FRWC) Steve Monfort (SCBI) Ric Pusey (EAD) co-authors
  4. 4. Saving Saharan Wildlife oryx are back in the wild • Late 1980s the oryx became extinct in the wild (Chad and Niger) • IUCN Red List status Extinct in the Wild since 2000 • Mid-1960s oryx captured in Chad for zoos on several continents • Captive populations are today numerous with some 15-20,000 oryx • Oryx repatriated to fenced protected areas in Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal • No full release into the wild before now
  5. 5. Saving Saharan Wildlife Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Game Reserve. 78,000 km2 Almost exactly the same size as Indiana or twice the size of Belgium! Sahelian grassland and sub-desert habitats.
  6. 6. Saving Saharan Wildlife project timeline • March 14 Group 1 (25) arrive Chad • July 21 Group 1 collared (Chad) • August 14 Group 1 released (21) • September 20 first wild born calf • October 11 Group 2 collared (Abu Dhabi) • November 14 Group 2 (25) arrive Chad • January 18 Group 3 (24) arrive Chad • January 21 Group 2 released (12 + 2 from Group 1) • July Group 3 to be collared • August remaining animals of Group 2 + Group 3 to be released • October Group 4 to arrive Chad
  7. 7. Saving Saharan Wildlife current situation • Fast moving situation • Herd splintering in response to grazing, shade, rainfall, etc. • Baby boom • Tim/Marc/Katherine & Mahamat can provide current numbers and breakdown
  8. 8. Saving Saharan Wildlife arrival in chad by chartered Ilyushin cargo plane – 6 hours flight
  9. 9. Saving Saharan Wildlife transport & offloading abu dhabi to basecamp ≈ 30 hours
  10. 10. release into holding pens
  11. 11. Saving Saharan Wildlife custom-built oryx basecamp & 45ha holding pens © John Newby/SCF
  12. 12. Saving Saharan Wildlife official release © Marc Dethier/SCF
  13. 13. Saving Saharan Wildlife oryx leaving the pens 15 august
  14. 14. Saving Saharan Wildlife oryx in the pre-release pens
  15. 15. Saving Saharan Wildlife monitoring • Partners SCBI and ZSL • Field trials in USA • Vectronic collars • Iridium network • Data transfer to field • VHF capability • Local monitoring team • Alerts / Rapid response
  16. 16. Saving Saharan Wildlife procedures
  17. 17. Saving Saharan Wildlife twice-daily gps fixes BASECAMP MAIN HERD LONE ORYX
  18. 18. Saving Saharan Wildlife quasi-real time monitoring last 16 days -- alerts
  19. 19. Saving Saharan Wildlife tracking with vhf © John Newby/SCF
  20. 20. Saving Saharan Wildlife oryx behaviour & social development
  21. 21. Saving Saharan Wildlife 2016 wet season was exceptionally good
  22. 22. Saving Saharan Wildlife green plants are critical for survival
  23. 23. Saving Saharan Wildlife wild melon citrullus colocynthis
  24. 24. Saving Saharan Wildlife main herd of oryx released august 2016
  25. 25. Saving Saharan Wildlife first wild born oryx in 30 years
  26. 26. Saving Saharan Wildlife shading is important
  27. 27. Saving Saharan Wildlife oryx help conserve dama gazelles © John Newby/SCF
  28. 28. Saving Saharan Wildlife springboard for addax © John Newby/SCF
  29. 29. Saving Saharan Wildlife future challenges • Up to now has been the “easy” bit! • Poaching – currently under control • Integrating conservation and livestock development • Habitat loss – natural and man-made -- bushfires • Access to vital hot season grazing and shade • Monitoring will help with assessment & conservation • Cooperation between stakeholders is key • Innovative management, zonation, etc. • Maintaining national and political support • Political stability will govern much of what is possible
  30. 30. Saving Saharan Wildlife is cohabitation possible? © Tim Wacher/ZSL © Tim Wacher/ZSL
  31. 31. Saving Saharan Wildlife poaching 1970s © John Newby/SCF
  32. 32. Saving Saharan Wildlife education & awareness © John Newby/SCF
  33. 33. Saving Saharan Wildlife building a community
  34. 34. Saving Saharan Wildlife pastoralism © John Newby/SCF
  35. 35. Saving Saharan Wildlife new developments © Abakar Zaid
  36. 36. Saving Saharan Wildlife bushfires © Marc Dethier/SCF
  37. 37. Saving Saharan Wildlife baby boom
  38. 38. Saving Saharan Wildlife © Tim Wacher/ZSL
  39. 39. Saving Saharan Wildlife © Tim Wacher/ZSL
  40. 40. Saving Saharan Wildlife jackal predation © Tim Wacher/ZSL
  41. 41. Saving Saharan Wildlife Project supported by follow us On the web: www.saharaconservation.org Sandscript: http://www.saharaconservation. org/?-Sandscript- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ saharacf
  42. 42. Saving Saharan Wildlife EAD WEBSITE
  43. 43. Saving Saharan Wildlife oryx field bulletins & sandscript
  44. 44. Saving Saharan Wildlife© John Newby/SCF

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