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Animal Info - Slender-horned Gazelle

(Other Names: 细角羚细, Algerian Sand Gazelle, Gazelle à Cornes Fines, Gazelle à longues cornes, Gazelle blanche, Gazelle des sables, Gazelle des Dunes, Gazelle Leptocère, Loder's Gazelle, Rhim, Sand Gazelle)

Gazella leptoceros

Status: Endangered


Contents

1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, Population Estimates, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Size and Weight, Habitat, Gestation Period, Birth Season, Birth Rate, Maximum Age, Diet, Behavior, Social Organization)
5. References


Profile

Pictures: Slender-horned Gazelle #1 (85 Kb JPEG); Slender-horned Gazelle #2 (Huffman 2004)

The slender-horned gazelle weighs up to 30 kg (66 lb) and stands 66 cm (26") tall at the shoulder. Although found in both sandy and stony deserts, it is particularly well adapted to sandy dunes. The slender-horned gazelle eats grass, succulents, herbs and foliage of shrubs. While it can obtain all of its water from its food, it will drink water when available. The slender-horned gazelle feeds during the night and in the early morning. It is strongly nomadic and wide-ranging in search of sparse, ephemeral pasture in its arid habitat. Slender-horned gazelles usually occur in small groups of 3 - 10 individuals, although herds as large as 20 have been reported. 

The slender-horned gazelle was formerly found from Algeria and Mauritania eastward to Egypt and Sudan as far as the Nile River. It was once the most common of all the gazelles living in the Sahara desert. By the early 1970's, it was in serious decline and its populations were highly fragmented and often isolated. It still probably can be found over most of the area of its original range from Algeria to Egypt but in much reduced numbers and in highly fragmented and isolated populations. The only animals now surviving in the wild are ones living in inaccessible desert locations or on preserves. 

Hunting by mounted and then motorized hunters was the major reason for the slender-horned gazelle's decline. Its horns were formerly sold as ornaments in North African markets and shops. Habitat loss and warfare have also contributed to its decline. 


Tidbits

*** The slender-horned gazelle is the most desert-adapted of the gazelles (Spinage 1986).

*** Heat tolerance in desert gazelles is aided by a nasal blood-cooling process.

*** The name ‘rhim’ comes from the Hebrew Bible meaning a ‘wild ox' (Spinage 1986).


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

  • 1960's - 1970's: Endangered
  • 1980's: Vulnerable
  • 1994: Endangered
  • 1996 - 2004: Endangered (Criteria: C1+2a) (Population Trend: Decreasing) (IUCN 2004)

Countries Where the Slender-horned Gazelle Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia. (IUCN 2004)

Population Estimates:

[Note: Figures given are for wild populations only.]

History of Distribution:

The slender-horned gazelle was formerly found from Algeria and Mauritania eastward to Egypt and Sudan as far as the Nile River. It was once the most common of all the gazelles living in the Sahara desert, occurring in the deserts of North Africa from southern Algeria to the west side of the Nile near Faiyum, including the central Sahara southwards as far as the northwestern part of the Sudan, extending into Tunisia and the Saharan Atlas in the north. By the early 1970's, the slender-horned gazelle was in serious decline and its populations were highly fragmented and often isolated. It no longer occurred in most areas of the northern Sahara and was rare in the southern parts. It still probably can be found over most of the area of its original range but in much reduced numbers and in highly fragmented and isolated populations.  The only animals now surviving in the wild are ones living in inaccessible desert locations or on preserves (AZA Antelope TAG).

Distribution Map #1 (17 Kb GIF) (African Mammals Databank 2004)
Distribution Map #2 (8 Kb GIF) (Huffman 2004) 

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

Hunting by mounted and then motorized hunters was the major reason for the slender-horned gazelle's decline. Its horns were formerly sold as ornaments in North African markets and shops. Habitat loss and warfare have also contributed to its decline. 


Data on Biology and Ecology

Size and Weight:

The slender-horned gazelle weighs 14 - 30 kg (30 - 66 lb) and stands 66 cm (26") tall at the shoulder.

Habitat:

The slender-horned gazelle occurs in both sandy and stony deserts. It is found in areas of fine-grained sands, acacia groves and sandy depressions with sparse desert vegetation. It is particularly well adapted to sandy dunes. (Mallon & Kingswood 2001)  

Gestation Period:

156 - 169 days.

Birth Season:

Calving reportedly occurs in January and February; the rut presumably occurs in late summer (August - September) (Mallon & Kingswood 2001).

Birth Rate:

1, sometimes 2, young are born (Mallon & Kingswood 2001).

Maximum Age:

About 14 years (Spinage 1986).

Diet:

The slender-horned gazelle eats grass, succulents, herbs and foliage of shrubs. It can obtain all of its water from its food (e.g., by feeding on plants with a high water content and on dew-soaked vegetation late at night) but will drink water when available.

Behavior:

The slender-horned gazelle feeds during the night and in the early morning.  During the hot hours of the day it rests in the shade or in hollowed out depressions. The slender-horned gazelle moves frequently between desert depressions in search of food. Larger movements, likely to carry it far from its preferred habitat, take place under the effect of long and severe droughts. (Beudels-Jamar et al. 1998, Mallon & Kingswood 2001)

Social Organization:

Slender-horned gazelles usually occur in small groups of 3 - 10 individuals, although herds as large as 20 have been reported. During the mating season, males become territorial and attempt to herd females in their territory. Young individuals and non-territorial males form bachelor herds. Outside of the breeding season, herds consist of all ages and genders. (AZA Antelope TAG)


References

African Mammals Databank 2004, AZA Antelope TAG, Beudels-Jamar et al. 1998, Burton & Pearson 1987, Curry-Lindahl 1972, East 1990, Huffman 2004, IUCN 1969, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Kingdon 1997, Langewiesche 1996, Macdonald 1984, Mallon & Kingswood 2001, Nowak 1999, Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Oryx 1987c, Spinage 1986, Stuart & Stuart 1996


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Last modified: October 31, 2005;

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