It will not have escaped anyone’s attention that North Africa is going through significant turmoil at the moment. Turbulence that often dramatically upsets society and which also impacts heavily on our ability to carry out our conservation mission.
In the fall of 2008, Niger began drilling for oil in the Tin Toumma desert to the east of the country. Tin Toumma is where SCF and its partners are working to set up a vast new national nature reserve. It is also home to the world’s last viable population of addax. Will the search for black gold deal the final blow to the survival of this magnificent white antelope? Or can we find a just compromise that allows Niger to benefit from its subterranean riches whilst conserving its precious living natural resources?
What I love about deserts is their uncluttered perfection. When the sand and dust have settled you can generally see what’s going on. The Sahara is one of those magical places where life in all its incredible diversity looks out unimpeded on the infinity of space. Ten million square kilometres of what some would have us believe is a barren, wasteland of scalding rock and sand. Sure, there’s plenty of that but it would be short-sighted to write off deserts as irrelevant to modern day society or conservation.