Addax nasomaculatus 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Addax nasomaculatus
Species Authority: (de Blainville, 1816)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Addax
French Addax, Antilope Blanche
Taxonomic Notes: Two subspecies have been named but the species is now regarded as monotypic (Newby 2013).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2cd; C2a(ii); D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-04-27
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Hoffmann, M.
Contributor(s): Newby, J. & Wacher, T.
Addax is listed as Critically Endangered because the total population is estimated to number under 100, well below the threshold of 250 mature individuals, and all or almost all (90-100%) are in one subpopulation in the Termit Tin Toumma region of Niger. Numbers continue to decline due to poaching and disturbance from oil exploration. Latest field surveys indicate that the species has probably already reached the threshold for Critically Endangered under criterion D (<50 mature individuals).
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Addax were formerly widespread in the Sahelo-Saharan region of Africa, west of the Nile Valley, and present in suitable habitats in all countries sharing the Sahara Desert (Newby 2013). As with other ungulates of the Sahelo-Saharan fauna, the Addax has undergone an unprecedented reduction in geographical range (up to 99%) over the past century (Durant et al. 2013). The only known remaining population thought to be viable survives in the Termit/Tin Toumma region of Niger. However, there are sporadic records of small isolated groups and individuals from eastern Aïr Mountains/Western Ténéré desert in Niger, and from the Djourab region of western Chad (Newby 2013). Possible rare vagrants from these areas may be seen in northern Niger, southern Algeria and Libya (Newby 2013). There have been rumours of Addax along the Mali/Mauritania border (Majabat Al Koubra), but no confirmed sightings for several years. In early March 2007, the fresh tracks of about 15 Addax were seen in central Mauritania, in an area where they had not been reported for over 20 years (R. Vernet in Newby 2013), but these reports have not been followed up and it is unclear whether any Addax survive in Mauritania.
Countries occurrence:
Chad; Niger
Possibly extinct:
Regionally extinct:
Algeria; Egypt; Libya; Morocco; Sudan; Tunisia; Western Sahara
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Although long extinct in North Africa, Addax were still present in fair numbers in Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad up until the late 1960s and early 1970s (Newby 2013). In 2013 the total global population was estimated at probably fewer than 300 animals surviving in the wild, distributed unevenly along a narrow, 600-km-long band lying between Termit/Tin Toumma in Niger and the Djourab sand sea in Chad (Newby 2013). Termit/Tin Toumma appears to be the last viable population of Addax in the world, with ground and aerial surveys carried out in 2004 indicating a population of around 200 individuals (Wacher et al. 2004). Sightings of Addax have declined since 2007. During a field trip carried out in June 2015 by the Sahara Conservation Fund in Termit/Tin Toumma, no animals were seen during a thorough survey including all the shade trees, and only footprints of around 25 adults and three calves were found (SCF 2015a)  An aerial survey in March 2016 located only three living animals; remains of Addax and Dorcas Gazelle were also found, left by poachers (Rabeil 2016). The remaining animals are assumed to have been destroyed or dispersed. It is highly probable that there are now <100 Addax left in the wild, and perhaps many fewer. The species is at serious risk of becoming extinct in the wild.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:30-90Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1-2

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The most desert-loving large ungulate, occurring in areas of extreme temperature and aridity (less than 100 mm annually) (Newby 2013). With the exception of truly mountainous areas, Addax have been recorded from all major habitat types in the Sahara, from gravelly and sandy plains, to dune fields, sandy basins and depressions, pans and wadi systems; their preference is for harder, packed sands and flatter areas within and between dune fields that support perennial vegetation (Newby 2013, and references therein).

Addax are nomadic, wandering over large areas in search of grazing. In the Sahel, movements tend to be north-south in direction, for example from the more arid desert to the less arid sub-desert and Sahel (Gillet 1965, Newby 1978). In central Niger, movement may also be east-west, for example from the open desert towards the better-wooded and more varied habitats of the Aïr and Termit mountains (Hue 1960). The Addax is well known for its utilisation of extremely desolate, inhospitable, and arid habitats (Dragesco-Joffé 1993).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):7.6
Movement patterns:Nomadic

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

Addax are subject to uncontrolled hunting for their meat, horns and hide; and levels of poaching have increased by both the armed forces and the local community (SCF 2015b).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The primary factor in the decline of Addax is uncontrolled hunting over many years, a process accelerating with the arrival of motor vehicles and modern weapons in the 20th century. Drought and the extension of pastoralism into desert lands, thanks to the increase in wells, have also taken a heavy toll, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s (Beudels-Jamar et al. 2005, Newby 2013). In recent years, the only near-viable population in Termit Tin Toumma NNR has been subject to disturbance by oil exploration and production and to shooting by their military escorts (Duncan et al. 2014). Finally, political instability in Libya has caused an increase in traffic in the core area of Addax distribution and a new kind of opportunistic hunting has been developed by traffickers (T. Rabeil pers. comm).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed on CMS (the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals) Appendix I and CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix I, and included in the CMS Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes Action Plan (Beudels-Jamar et al. 2005). It is protected under national legislation in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria; in Libya and Egypt hunting of all gazelles is forbidden by law.

Although massive reserves, such as the Ahaggar (4,400,000 ha) and Tasilli (1,140,000 ha) in Algeria; Aïr/Ténéré (7,736,000 ha) and Termit-Tin Toumma in Niger, and Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim (7,795,000 ha) in Chad, cover areas where Addax previously occurred, some are under-resourced and only Termit still harbours Addax (Newby 2013). Continued support for reserves in Chad and Niger, together with the establishment of new protected areas, especially along the Mali/Mauritania frontier (Majabat), Niger (Termit/Tin Toumma) and Chad (Bodélé, Egueï), is essential, but must be supported and combined with programmes to create incentives for the local people to protect wildlife wherever it is found (Newby 2013).

Addax have been released into fenced enclosures inside Haddej N.P., Djebil N.P. and Senghar N.P. in Tunisia (Molcanova and Wacher 2010) and numbered around 130 in 2015. About 350 Addax are mainatained in the Rokkein enclosure in Souss-Massa N.P., and Morocco, and a few more are kept in a small, 600 ha breeding enclosure at Safia, just north of the border with Mauritania.

The global captive population numbers ca 760 in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia in managed breeding programmes. There are an estimated 5,000 in private collections and ranches in the United States and the Middle East.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2016. Addax nasomaculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T512A50180603. . Downloaded on 28 September 2016.
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