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Dama gazelle

The dama gazelle (Nanger dama) is the largest and slenderest of all gazelles. It can weigh up to 187 pounds and measure up to five and a half feet tall. It is one of the most peculiar gazelles thanks to its thin legs and slender neck. It has very distinctive, striking fur with a kind of white patch on its throat. Its body is an intense reddish-brown color and it has light-colored legs

Scientific name:

Nanger dama

Species:

Nanger dama

Family:

Bovidae

Order:

Artiodactyla

Class:

Mammals

Diet

Herbivore: leaves of the acacia tree, grasses, shrubs, and seeds

Pregnancy

Approximately 3 months

Number of puppies

1

Lifespan

Up to 19 years in captivity

Weight

Between 88 and 165 pounds

Size

Between 55 and 67 inches

Behavior of the dama gazelle

The Nanger dama is diurnal and very social. It lives in herds of fifteen to twenty individuals. Herds have a dominant male who displays his status to the others in two ways: by keeping apart from the rest of the group or by showing off its strength by using its horns in a threatening way. Another fact about the dama gazelle is that it is nomadic and continuously on the move in search of the scarce resources that can be found in its arid habitat. 

Habitat of the dama gazelle

This gazelle lives in Africa, in the Sahara Desert and Sahel region. It used to be specially accustomed to living on open fields, dry mountain steppes, and grassy steppes. However, due to indiscriminate hunting and habitat loss, the dama gazelle has disappeared from most of these areas and is practically extinct in the wild. There are only small, disperse groups in some areas of Mali, Niger, and Chad. 

What does this gazelle eat?

This mammal is predominantly an herbivore, mostly eating seeds and the leaves of bushes and trees, such as the acacia. On occasion, it may eat small insects if they are within reach. 

Conservation of the dama gazelle

The dama gazelle is divided into three subspecies: Nanger dama dama, Nanger dama ruficollis, and Nanger dama mhorr. The last subspecies has been seriously harmed due to various reasons, although the main threat to this species is indiscriminate hunting by man.

Interestingly, its existence today is due to the efforts of professor José Antonio Valverde, who rescued a group of eleven individuals from the former Spanish Sahara in 1975. He transferred them to the Saharan Fauna Rescue Park (CRFS, for its initials in Spanish) in Almería in order to prevent the extinction of vulnerable species, such as the dama gazelle. Thanks to this effort, all Nanger dama mhorr specimens that currently exist are descendants of that small group. They are a population of about 300 specimens distributed among zoos in Europe, North America, and South Africa.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorizes the dama gazelle as critically endangered, as its existence in the wild is estimated to be just 100-200 individuals.

Degree of threat


Location


You can find me in this area inside the park.

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Habitat


Meadows, scrubland, open savanna, and mountain plateaus.