Gazella dorcas 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Gazella dorcas (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Dorcas Gazelle
French Gazelle Dorcas
Spanish Gacela Dorcas
Taxonomic Notes: Several subspecies have been described for Gazella dorcas, based on phenotypic variation. However, a recent phylogeographic analysis, involving only mitochondrial DNA, found no evidence for any clear-cut geographic pattern of genetic structure and sheds doubt on the validity of any proposed subspecies (Lerp et al. 2011).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-04-27
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Cooke, R.
Numbers of Dorcas Gazelle have been in decline for some time mainly due to hunting, and these declines have worsened with more intensive motorized hunting. Habitat degradation resulting from overgrazing by livestock and drought have also had negative impacts. Over the whole range, these declines are continuing and are estimated to have exceeded 30% over the last 15 years (three generations).
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Dorcas Gazelle formerly occurred over the entire Sahelo-Saharan region (Durant et al. 2014), from the Mediterranean to the southern Sahel and from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, and extending into southern Israel, Syria and Jordan (marginal occurrence). And Horn of Africa. The species became extinct in Senegal, where it probably only occurred as a vagrant or a seasonal visitor (East 1999), and animals have subsequently been released into protected areas although there is no recent information on their status. They are possibly extinct in Nigeria, and their current status in Burkina Faso is unclear (Lafontaine et al. 2005).
Countries occurrence:
Algeria; Chad; Djibouti; Egypt (Sinai); Eritrea; Ethiopia; Israel; Jordan; Libya; Mali; Mauritania; Morocco; Niger; Somalia; Sudan; Tunisia; Western Sahara
Possibly extinct:
Regionally extinct:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:East (1999) compiled figures that suggested a sub-Saharan population of 35,000 to 40,000 and a total population somewhere in the tens of thousands. Numbers were declining generally, except where hunting pressure was low (East 1999).

Lafontaine et al. (2005) report recent declines in almost all range states and say it has disappeared from many regions and is seriously reduced in numbers where it survives. The largest current populations are in Chad (especially in the Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Faunal Reserve), Niger (Aïr-Ténéré National Nature Reserve and the Termit Massif-TinToumma), and the horn countries (Scholte and Hashim 2013, and references therein). In Morocco, the wild population is estimated at 800-2,000 individuals (Cuzin et al. 2007). The population in Israel was estimated at >2,000 and stable (Clark and Frankenberg 2001). A population of 1,000-2,000 is in rapid decline in Egypt, mostly outside protected areas (Saleh 2001). There are no recent reliable population estimates for Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, although the population in each country is unlikely to exceed 1,000 individuals (Scholte and Hashim 2013). A survey of the Termit Massif, Niger estimated the population of Dorcas Gazelles at 3,000 (Wacher et al. 2008).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This gazelle inhabits a wide range of arid and semi-arid habitats, but avoids extensive areas of dunes and hyperarid areas (Cuzin 2003, Lafontaine et al. 2005). It preferentially inhabits sparsely vegetated rocky plains (Cooke et al. in press). The species has the ability to make seasonal shifts that allow it to exploit localised areas with high-quality and moisture-rich forage (Dragesco-Joffé 1993, East 1999)
Generation Length (years):4.9

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In addition to persecution by local communities and militia, there have been reports of massive slaughters by visiting Arab hunting 'parties' in parts of Africa, including the Sahel (Cloudsley-Thompson 1992), Egypt (Saleh 2001) and Morocco (Cuzin 2003).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Motorized hunting has had a major impact on populations (East 1999, Mallon and Kingswood 2001, Lafontaine et al. 2006) aggravated by drought, as well as habitat loss and degradation due to expanding agriculture and overgrazing by sheep and goats (Scholte and Hashim 2013). Competition with livestock and capture of young for the pet trade are said to be the main threats to the survival of the species in Djibouti (Laurent and Laurent 2002).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Dorcas Gazelles occur in many protected areas throughout their range, including: M'Sabih Talâa Reserve and El Kheng Reserve (Morocco); Tassili and Ahaggar National Parks (Algeria); Bou-Hedma, Sidi Toui, Dghoumes, Oued Dekouk and Djebil National Parks (Tunisia); New Hisha Nature Reserve, Sabratha, Surman and El-Kouf National Park (Libya); Elba National Park and Saint Catherine Protectorate (Egypt); Banc d'Arguin National Park (Mauritania); Ouadi Rimé - Ouadi Achim Reserve (Chad); and Mille-Sardo Wildlife Reserve (Ethiopia) (Scholte and Hashim 2013). In Libya, the New Hisha Nature Reserve, Sabratha, and Surman populations are enclosed, whereas the El-Kouf National Park is free-living (T. Jdeidi pers. comm.). There are several other populations in protected areas in Morocco, but the populations listed above (M'Sabih Talâa Reserve and El Kheng Reserve) are particularly valuable as they are known to be of local origin (Cuzin et al. 2007).
Dorcas Gazelle do well in captivity, and are particularly common in several privately owned, captive collections in the Middle East (most originating from Egypt, the horn of Africa and Sudan) (Scholte and Hashim 2013). Additionally, there is a well-managed captive population in Almeria (Spain), originating from Western Saharan stock.

The species is listed on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Appendix I and included in the CMS Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes Action Plan. It is also legally protected or partially so in several range states, and it is listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix III (Algeria, Tunisia).

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.1. Reintroduction
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.1. International level
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.1. International level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:Yes
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.2. Droughts
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.1. Nomadic grazing
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Clark, B. and Frankenberg, E. 2001. Chapter 19. Israel. In: D. P. Mallon S. C. Kingswood (ed.), Antelopes. Part 4: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Global Survey and Regional Action Plans., pp. 107-111. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Cloudsley-Thompson, J.L. 1992. Wildlife massacres in Sudan. Oryx 26: 202-204.

Cooke, R. S. C., Woodfine, T., Petretto, M. and Ezard, T. H. G. 2016. Resource partitioning between ungulate populations in arid environments. Ecology and Evolution 6(17): 6354-6365.

Cuzin, F. 2003. Les grands mammifères du Maroc méridional (Haut Atlas, Anti Atlas et Sahara): Distribution, Ecologie et Conservation. Ph.D. Thesis, Laboratoire de Biogéographie et Ecologie des Vertèbrés, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Université Montpellier II.

Cuzin, F., Sehhar, E.A. and Wacher, T. 2007. Etude pour l'élaboration de lignes directrices et d'un plan d'action stratégique pour la conservation des ongulés au Maroc. Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forêts et à la Lutte Contre le Désertification (HEFLCD), Projet de Gestion des Aires Protégées (PGAP) et Banque Mondiale, Global Environment Facility (GEF). Two volumes.

Dragesco-Joffé, A. 1993. La Vie sauvage au Sahara. Delachaux et Niestlé, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Durant, S.M., Wacher, T., Bashir, S., Woodroffe, R., De Ornellas, P., Ransom, C., Newby, J., Abáigar, T., Abdelgadir, M., El Alqamy, H., Baillie, J., Beddiaf, M., Belbachir, F., Belbachir-Bazi, A., Berbash, A.A., Bemadjim, N.E., Beudels-Jamar, R., Boitani, L., Breitenmoser, C., Cano, M., Chardonnet, P., Collen, B., Cornforth, W.A., Cuzin, F., Gerngross, P., Haddane, B., Hadjeloum, M., Jacobson, A., Jebali, A., Lamarque, F., Mallon, D., Minkowski, K., Monfort, S., Ndoassal, B., Niagate, B., Purchase, G., Samaïla, S., Samna, S.K., Sillero-Zubiri, C., Soultan, A.E., Stanley Price, M.R. and Pettorelli, N. 2014. Fiddling in biodiversity hotspots while deserts burn? Collapse of the Sahara's megafauna. Diversity and Distributions 20(1): 114-122.

East, R. (compiler). 1999. African Antelope Database 1998. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-2. Available at: (Accessed: 14 September 2017).

Lafontaine, R.-M., Beudels-Jamar, R.C., Devillers, P. and Wacher, T. 2005. Gazella dorcas. In: R.C. Beudels, P. Devillers, R.-M. Lafontaine, J. Devillers-Terschuren & M.-O. Beudels (eds), Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes. Status and Perspectives. Report on the conservation status of the six Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes. CMS SSA Concerted Action. 2nd edition. CMS Technical Series Publication N°11, 2005.. UNEP/CMS Secretariat, Bonn, Germany.

Laurent, A. and Laurent, D. 2002. Djibouti: Les mammifères d’hier à aujourd'hui pour demain. Editions Beira, Toulouse, France.

Lerp H., Wronski T., Pfenninger M. and Plath M. 2011. A phylogeographic framework for the conservation of Saharan and Arabian dorcas gazelles. Organisms Diversity & Evolution 11: 317–329.

Mallon, D.P. and Kingswood, S.C. 2001. Antelopes. Part 4: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Global Survey and Regional Action Plans. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Saleh, M.A. 2001. Chapter 7. Egypt. In: D.P. Mallon and S.C. Kingswood (eds), Global survey and regional action plans: Antelopes. Part 4: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, pp. 48-54. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Scholte, P. and Hashim, I. 2013. Gazella dorcas. In: J. S. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa. VI. Pigs, Hippopotamuses, Chevrotain, Giraffes, Deer, and Bovids, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, UK.

Wacher, T., Rabeil, T. and Newby, J. 2008. Aerial survey of the Termit and Tin Toumma regions of Niger - November 2007. Conservation and Management of the Termit/Tin Toumma, Niger Project.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2017. Gazella dorcas. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T8969A50186334. . Downloaded on 18 June 2018.
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