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June 1, 2023


Categories: Blog, Stories

Dear readers,

We are really happy to introduce you to the 31st issue of Sandscript, the bi-annual publication of Sahara Conservation!

This issue is celebrating the amazing diversity of birds, large and small, that inhabit the Sahel and Sahara or pass through on their annual migrations. read more

March 30, 2019


Categories: Stories

In partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), Kellé, Niger, created by SCF a few years ago. SCF’s ambitious goal to reintroduce the species into the wild. The recent installation of a solar-powered hatchery and incubation unit is now allowing the organization to get closer to this goal. 

The containers have been successfully brought from the United States to Niger. The first is dedicated to the incubator, the second to the hatchery, the third is an office and a fourth one of all houses of the electrical equipment. A 2-week mission has been made to improve these facilities. In addition to SCF staff and members of WCN, the team is working on a system of operations.

The 110 solar panels on the containers, including 5 air conditioners – which are absolutely crucial to ensure optimal performance of the infrastructure.

Adequate humidity level is also mandatory to ensure successful incubation. That’s why pipes were used to connect the containers to a water drilling site located about 1 km away. 

A satellite system will also be set up by the US-based engineers. 

These facilities are expected to increase the ostrich birth rate, but also improve the working conditions on site. A good news for everyone! A good news for everyone!

April 2, 2018


Categories: Stories

Many thanks to Yves Gauthier for sharing this news with us. A French Researcher and Rock art expert, he tells how he observed, together with his team and thanks to the guide Idris Barkai, unexpected ostrich tracks in Northern Chad. (A French version can be found at the end of this article with his email address in case you want to discuss with him about these observations). 

We have been travelling in Northern Chad since 2012 to list rock art sites as well as monuments and ancient human settlements. This led us to visit areas with little or no passage at all, except by nomads or traffickers, and to observe the flora and fauna. Until now, we had never heard of ostriches in Chad except those in Zakuma National Park, much further south.

Dragesco-Jaffé mentions ostriches in Ennedi but they disappeared a long time ago, the species being eradicated by intensive hunting in northwestern Lake Chad (1993: 149) and elsewhere. This author then places the Northern limit of the species distribution range at 20 ° for Niger and the extreme east of Chad and 23 ° for North-Eastern Sudan (ibidem: 146).

To our knowledge, there has been no mention of the presence of this animal, in Ennedi, for at least a decade.

It was therefore quite unexpected, on February 7, 2018, to discover fresh tracks of ostriches in the NE of this massif, north of the 23rd parallel and so close from the Sudanese border. Based on the strong winds, these tracks had been left the same day in the morning. The photos show the tracks of a large and a small ostrich (Fig 1-2).

Fig. 1 and 2: two ostrich tracks © Yves Gauthier

Our local guide, Idris Barkai, has been seeing ostriches (adults and young) in this area since his early ages (for about 30 years). According to Idris, these animals commonly visit this area in the morning looking for food and then head further East. We did not try to spot them to find out more, but, of course, it would be interesting to know about the size and composition of this ostrich herd.

This is therefore a small relict population, certainly the last representative of the species still living in Northern Chad. Unfortunately, like their conspecifics in Niger and Kanem, these ostriches are about to extinct. The local people have indeed confirmed that the animal is still hunted for its meat.

At a time when the rate of extinction is accelerating, for Saharan species as for many others, and in a context of ongoing attempts to reintroduce ostriches or addax in Niger and Chad, it seems crucial to me to have studies being carried out, measures taken rapidly, and to preserve the genetic heritage of this small population.

 Fig. 3 and 4: In red: large ostrich / In pink: small ostrich / In blue: hare droppings / In black: stripped hyena / In green: fox © Yves Gauthier

Y. Gauthier.

October 12, 2017


Categories: Stories

The Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) is implementing a national and international action plan within the framework of the North African Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) Recovery project.

The success of this initiative relies on the support and involvement of various stakeholders.

At the end of 2016, SCF met with the Nigerien authorities and private holders, followed by a workshop with our international partners including Marwell Wildlife (UK), Hanover Zoo (Germany) and Saint-Louis, San Diego and Smithsonian’ zoos (USA). During the workshop, SCF decided to organise an advisory visit from Dr Marie Petretto, field biologist and wildlife veterinarian from Marwell Wildlife working in Tunisia to share her expertise on ostrich breeding for reintroduction purposes and provide training for the staff at Kellé breeding site (Niger) where a new artificial hatching unit would soon be operational.

During Dr Petretto’s visit from the 12th to 18th July 2017, the managers and workers from the other Nigerien ostrich breeding sites were invited to attend the training course at Kellé. As a consequence, we were delighted to welcome Mr. Issaka Abdou Idrissa, Iferouane manager and Mr. Abdoulaye Maoudé, guard and ostrich keeper at Maïné-Soroa to the ostrich training course. We also made the course accessible to five Ecology Masters students and to the Head of Environment Services of Kellé, to increase local learning and expertise.

Our efforts for ostrich conservation received support from the local dignitaries and the welcome for the course was delivered by the Kellé authorities, including Mr. Mai Moussa Mai Salé, traditional Head of Canton, Mr. Idrissa Adam, Deputy Mayor and General Mamadou Ousseini, the Kellé site owner.

This initiative formalises and extends SCF’s involvement in ostrich conservation in Niger, as we start to provide technical and financial support to ostrich conservation beyond the Kellé breeding site. It has also enabled us to share expertise and experiences between comparable projects led by SCF in Niger and Marwell Wildlife in Tunisia.

Maimounatou Mamadou Ibrahim,

Ostrich Breeding center Manager in Kellé,

Sahara Conservation Fund – Niger