Re-introduction of globally threatened Arabian Gazelles Gazella Arabica (Pallas, 1766) (Mammalia: Bovidae) in fenced protected area in central Saudi Arabia

M.Z. Islam, M.S. Shah, A. Boug


The Arabian Gazelle is a globally threatened antelope (Vulnerable) in Saudi Arabia. Small relict populations remain in limited areas, while historically Arabian Gazelles occurred in Mahazat as-Sayd protected area in central Saudi Arabia but were exterminated by anthropogenic and other pressures, including habitat loss and hunting. Important habitat has been lost to agricultural developments, fencing of pasture for livestock and the construction of human settlements and roads. The reintroduction of Arabian Gazelles was undertaken in Mahazat during 2011-2014 to bring back this locally extinct species study its ecology and biology in a fenced protected area. We released a total of 49 (12 males, 37 females) animals. A year after release animals started breeding and six calves have been recorded so far with more to come. The gazelles prefer to use more rocky areas where shrubs and acacia trees occur in the reserve, and do not move long distances except for one individual that moved more than 50km. Mahazat is fenced, which prevents local people from entering the reserve to poach or otherwise disturb animals. Management lessons include the need for continued monitor-ing of reintroduced populations. Interactions between Arabian and Sand Gazelles (Gazella subgutturosa marica) and Arabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx) were also studied.

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