Gazelles Targeted in Unusual Attack in Niger Desert Reserve
(Bloomberg) -- Suspected poachers killed about 40 dorcas gazelles in a nature reserve in the Sahara that’s one of the world’s last remaining strongholds of rare desert animals, marking the worst attack in years.
The gazelles were slaughtered in Niger’s Termit and Tin-Toumma Nature Reserve, which covers 38,000 square miles of mountains and desert, environmental authorities said Tuesday. Local communities alerted forestry officials to the dead animals, according to Abdoulaye Arche, the regional representative for French environmental organization Noe, which manages the reserve.
Niger last year declassified part of the reserve to allow for oil exploration by China National Petroleum Corp. after the government signed a production-sharing agreement with the company. CNPC has rights to a field in the Agadem Basin in Niger’s southeastern Diffa region and some of the blocs encroach on the reserve.
The area contains one of the last remaining populations of the critically endangered addax and dama gazelle, the Saharan cheetah and Barbary sheep, and is the only known place on earth where all four species still live together.
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