Gazella marica 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Gazella marica Thomas, 1897
Common Name(s):
English Arabian Sand Gazelle
Gazella subgutturosa ssp. marica Thomas, 1897
Taxonomic Source(s): Wacher, T., Wronski, T., Hammond, R.L., Winney, B., Blacket, M.J., Hundertmark, K.J., Mohammed, O.B., Omer, Sa., Macasero, W., Lerp, H., Plath, M. and Bleidorn, C. 2010. Phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences reveals polyphyly in the goitred gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa). Conservation Genetics 12: 827–831.
Taxonomic Notes: Gazella marica was formerly included in Gazella subgutturosa. DNA evidence revealed that these represent separate lineages (Wacher et al. 2010) and G. marica is now regarded as a separate, though closely related species.

Hassanin et al. (2012) found that pairwise distances between G. cuvieri, G. leptoceros and G. marica were very low (<1.5%) and suggested that G. leptoceros and G. marica should be regarded as subspecies of G. cuvieri. This would have significant implications for conservation and more research to further clarify the situation is a priority.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-08-08
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Cooke, R.
Arabian Sand Gazelle is listed as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(i) because although there are only an estimated 1,750-2,100 mature individuals in total (below the threshold for Endangered) two subpopulations contain >250 mature individuals, and, although declining, the population overall is not undergoing a significant decline. Many of the wild populations are now in protected areas where they are stable or increasing, while the remnant populations elsewhere are threatened and declining.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Arabian Sand Gazelle occurs from south-eastern Turkey southwards across the Arabian Peninsula to UAE, Oman, and Yemen (Mallon and Kingswood 2001). In the northeast and east of the range the boundary between G. marica and G. subgutturosa is not precisely known, especially in Iraq, where the River Tigris may separate the two forms. In Iran, gazelles west of the Zagros range may be G. marica or G. subgutturosa; further research is needed on this.

Arabian Sand Gazelle is assumed to have once occurred in suitable habitat across most of the Arabian Peninsula. Its range is much reduced and it is now restricted to protected areas and a few small scattered populations elsewhere. In Saudi Arabia, the two main populations occur in Mahazat As-Asyd and Uruq Bani Ma'arid reserves. A few other very small populations may still be present. The former population in Harrat Al Harrah reserve in the north has been extirpated by poaching. In the UAE, there are several small wild populations and the species has been reintroduced to Umm al Zumoul reserve in the southeast of Abu Dhabi emirate. In Oman the species is now scarcely known and may no longer occur in the wild; there is a large captive breeding herd at Al Wusta Reserve and a programme of releases is planned. There are a few old records in Yemen (Harrison and Bates 1991) but no recent information on presence, although extensive areas of suitable habit exist in the north of the country along the edge of Rub Al Khali. There are populations in Bahrain, some of them semi-managed. The species occurred in Kuwait, Qatar and Syria, but the current status there is unclear. Very small numbers survive in the eastern desert of Jordan. Arabian Sand Gazelle is still believed to occur in western Iraq but there is little recent information available. In Turkey animals from the Ceylanpinar breeding centre in the south-east have been released into the surrounding area.
Countries occurrence:
Iraq; Jordan; Kuwait; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Syrian Arab Republic; United Arab Emirates; Yemen
Present - origin uncertain:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are no estimates of former population size, but numbers, but are considered to be greatly reduced and the range of the species has declined markedly. At the 17th International Conservation Workshop for the Fauna of Arabia (Sharjah, UAE, February 2016) the following population estimates were reported:
  • Saudi Arabia: 1,000-1,100 (600-700 in Mahazat As Sayd, 400 in Uruq Bani Ma'arid, very few elsewhere);
  • UAE: 800-1,000 in small populations;
  • Jordan: <50;
  • Oman: possibly one small population.
Thus an estimated 1,850-2,150. In addition there are very few, if any, surviving in Kuwait and Syria; numbers in Iraq are very low, and all gazelles in Qatar and most of those in Bahrain are in some form of managed conditions. The latest estimate of the population in Turkey is ca 320 (Durmus 2010). It is unlikely therefore that the total population exceeds 3,000, representing ca 2,100 mature individuals at most.

It should be emphasized that these figures apply only to animals considered fully 'wild' under the IUCN Red List Guidelines. Arabian Sand Gazelles are kept in many private collections and breeding centres, especially in UAE. In Abu Dhabi, several tens of thousands are under some form of management. There are an estimated 1,500 in the Ceylanpinar breeding centre, Turkey (Durmus 2010) and ca 500 at the Yalooni breeding centre in Oman. The total captive or 'managed' population may be >100,000.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:1750-2150Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This gazelle occurs in deserts, including sand dunes and areas of sand and gravel as well as coastal flats; it avoids steep and rocky areas.
Generation Length (years):4.6
Movement patterns:Nomadic

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Gazelles are popular as pets and in private collections in the Arabian Peninsula and there is some trade in wild-caught individuals. Hunting for gazelle skins, meat, and trophy horns is common, and poorly regulated.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats to this species are uncontrolled hunting, and in parts of the range, habitat degradation due to overgrazing.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Arabian Sand Gazelles occur in Mahazat As Sayd reserve (600-700), and Uruq Bani Ma'arid reserve (400) in Saudi Arabia. They have been reintroduced to Umm Al Zumoul reserve, Abu Dhabi. There are breeding centres in Turkey, UAE, Jordan (Shaumari), Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The species is kept in many private collections.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2017. Gazella marica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T8977A50187738. . Downloaded on 18 August 2018.
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