Nanger dama 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Nanger dama (Pallas, 1766)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Dama Gazelle, Addra Gazelle, Mhorr Gazelle
French Gazelle Dama
Spanish Gacela Dama
Gazella dama (Pallas, 1766)
Taxonomic Notes: Sometimes included in the genus Gazella, Dama Gazelle is here included in the genus Nanger, along with Soemmering’s Gazelle (N. soemmerringi) and Grant’s Gazelle (N. granti), following (Groves 2000, Grubb 2005). Cano (1984) recognized three subspecies (provisionally retained by Scholte 2013). Recent genetic analysis found no geographic structure among the populations sampled and suggested that the subspecies divisions were not valid (Senn et al. 2014a, 2016).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-12-07
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Hoffmann, M.
Contributor(s): De Smet, K., Newby, J., Wacher, T., Cuzin, F. & Lamarque, F.
Listed as Critically Endangered because the total population is considered to number well below 250 mature individuals and is still declining under the pressure of uncontrolled hunting, disturbance, and expanded livestock grazing. The five surviving subpopulations are fragmented and very small and all are considered to contain <50 mature individuals.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Formerly widespread in the Sahara and Sahel zones, but their range and numbers have been extremely reduced. Dama Gazelle are now probably extinct from Morocco and Algeria. In Tunisia, they are believed to have occurred in the south and to have disappeared before the 20th century (Smith et al. 2001). There are historical reports of Dama Gazelle from extreme S Libya, which may represent movement of animals northwards from the Tibesti mountains, but no recent evidence (RZSS and IUCN Antelope Specialist Group 2014).

South of the Sahara, Dama Gazelle have been recorded across the sahel zone from northern Senegal to Sudan (Scholte 2013, and references therein). They formerly occurred in Senegal during the dry season, or periods of drought, only and are thought to be extinct in Mauritania, and from the Sahel zones of NE Nigeria and N Burkina Faso where they have been previously recorded, albeit rarely (Scholte 2013). There are no recent confirmed records from the Sudan, although East (1999) mentioned it could still occur at low densities in Northern Darfur and Northern Kordofan.

Since 2000, Dama Gazelles have been reported from only five sites: south Tamesna, eastern Mali (last record 2006); the Air massif and Termit/Tin Toumma N.N.R. in Niger, and the Manga region and Ouadi Rimé Ouadi Achim Faunal Reserve in Chad (RZSS and IUCN Antelope Specialist Group 2014). Much of the former range has not been surveyed in recent years due to political instability and lack of security, and there is a very slight possibility that small groups may persist elsewhere. Unconfirmed local reports suggest that small populations may exist in two other locations, but as Dama Gazelles make long-distance movements, ‘new’ small groups may represent nomads not separate subpopulations (RZSS and IUCN Antelope Specialist Group 2014).
Countries occurrence:
Chad; Mali; Niger
Possibly extinct:
Algeria; Morocco
Regionally extinct:
Mauritania; Senegal; Sudan; Tunisia; Western Sahara
Additional data:
Number of Locations:5
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Numbers of Dama Gazelle have declined drastically since the 1950s and 1960s. The early 1970s population in Ouadi Rimé Ouadi Achim Faunal Reserve in Chad, one of the former strongholds of the species, was estimated at 10,000-12,000 individuals, but today the species is very rare in this reserve (J. Newby, in Scholte 2013). Remnant populations are small and fragmented and estimated to number a maximum 250 in total (RZSS and IUCN Antelope Specialist Group 2014) and may be even as low as <100.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:100-200Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Yes
No. of subpopulations:5

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Inhabits Sahelian grasslands, sparsely wooded savanna and sub-desert steppes with Acacia and Panicum vegetation; usually avoids really sandy areas, but will frequent low mountains and mountain plateaus, probably as refugia. In southern Morocco, it was found in areas without any Acacia, but with dense shrub cover (Cuzin 2003).
Generation Length (years):5.1

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Dama Gazelles are subject to direct exploitation, exacerbated by the introduction of modern firearms and 4x4 vehicles. As well as hunting by nomads and military, hunting of Dama Gazelle by Arab hunting parties has been frequent in Sudan (Cloudsley and Thompson 1992) and in 1998 and again in 2001 in Chad, where it was temporarily, halted after publicity by a local NGO (Scholte 2013). Dama Gazelle gallstones were also highly sought-after, at least in the western part of the species' range, as a talisman (Cuzin 2003).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats to this species include uncontrolled hunting (by nomads, military and others) and habitat loss and degradation due to overgrazing by domestic livestock and the expansion of livestock rearing due to construction of bore wells that allow grazers to remain in a location all year-round. Prolonged drought is also having an impact on pasture quality (Lafontaine et al. 2005, Scholte 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Three of the five existing wild populations occur in protected areas: Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim, Termit-Tin Toumma N.N.R. and Aïr-Ténéré N.N.R. (RZSS and IUCN Antelope Specialist Group 2014). Insecurity has affected all of these at some time and still hinders travel to the sites in Niger.

Captive Dama Gazelle have been released into fenced enclosures at six sites (although two of these operations have failed) for captive breeding or as part of long-term reintroduction programmes: Morocco (Safia, R'Mila; Sous-Massa: died out); Tunisia (Bou-Hedma: only 3 males) and Senegal (Guembeul and Ferlo Nord, Katané). None of these is yet considered a full 'reintroduction into the wild. In total there about 250 (RZSS and IUCN Antelope Specialist Group 2014). Approximately 550 are held in zoos in managed breeding programmes and there are an estimated 900 on Texas ranches (RZSS and IUCN Antelope Specialist Group 2014).

Dama Gazelle is listed is listed on CITES Appendix I and on CMS Appendix I, and is also included in the CMS Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes Action Plan (Lafontaine et al. 2005).

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
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 -> 3.2. Species recovery
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.1. Nomadic grazing
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ 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:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Very Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:High Impact: 8 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.1. Recreational activities
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.2. War, civil unrest & military exercises
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Aulagnier, S., Cuzin, F., Thevenot, M. and Loggers, C. 2001. Morocco. In: D. P. Mallon and S. C. Kingswood (eds), Antelopes. Part 4: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Global Survey and Regional Action Plans, pp. 13-21. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Cano, M. 1984. Revision der systematik von Gazella (Nanger) dama. Zeitschrift des kölner Zoo 27: 103-107.

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

Cuzin, F. 1996. Current state of large, wild mammals in Morocco (Primates, Carnivores, Artiodactyls). Mammalia 60: 101-124.

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.

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

Groves, C.P. 2000. Phylogenetic relationships within Antilopini (Bovidae). In: E.S. Vrba & G.B. Schaller (ed.), Antelopes, Deer, and Relatives: Fossil Record, Behavioral Ecology, Systematics and Conservation, pp. 223–233. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut, USA and London, UK.

Grubb, P. 2005. Artiodactyla. In: D.E. Wilson & D.M. Reeder (ed.), Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed), pp. 637-722. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2. Available at: (Accessed: 04 September 2016).

Lafontaine, R.-M., Beudels-Jamar, R. C. and Devillers, P. 2005. Gazella dama. In: R. C. Beudels, P. Devillers, R. -M. Lafontaine, J. Devillers-Terschuren, and M. -O. Beudels (eds), Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes. Status and Perspectives. Report on the conservation status of the six Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes. UNEP/CMS Secretariat, Bonn, Germany.

Lamarque, F., Sid'Ahmed, A. A., Bouju, S., Coulibaly, G. and Maïga, D. 2007. Confirmation of the survival of the Critically Endangered dama gazelle Gazella dama in south Tamesna, Mali. Oryx 41: 109-112.

RZSS & IUCN Antelope Specialist Group. 2014. Conservation review of the dama gazelle (Nanger dama). Report produced following the roundtable workshop for dama gazelle conservation held at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh, 19th-21st November 2013. Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK.

Sausman, K. 1998. Mhorr Gazelle Gazella dama mhorr. North American Regional Studbook. The Living Desert.

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

Senn, H., Banfield, L., Wacher, T., Newby, J., Rabeil, T., Kaden, J., Kitchener, A., Abaigar, T., Luisa Silva, T., Maunder, M. and Ogden, R. 2014. Splitting or Lumping? A Conservation Dilemma Exemplified by the Critically Endangered Dama Gazelle (Nanger dama). PLoS One 9: e98693.

Senn, H., Wacher, T., Newby, J., Matchano, A., Mungall, E.C., Pukazenthi, B., Kitchener, A.C., Eyres, A., Rabeil, T. 2016. Uopdate: genetic relatedness of the Critically Endangered Dama Gazelle population in the wild and captivity. Gnusletter 33(1).

Smith, T. R., Mallon, D. P. and De Smet, K. 2001. Tunisia. In: D. P. Mallon and S. C. Kingswood (eds), Antelopes. Part 4: North Africa, the Middle East, amd Asia. Global Survey and Regional Action Plans, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Thuesen, L. 1998. Addra Gazelle Gazella dama ruficollis. North American Regional Studbook. Historical Update. Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2016. Nanger dama. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T8968A50186128. . Downloaded on 24 June 2018.
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