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Changes in Habitat Structure May Explain Decrease in Reintroduced Mohor Gazelle Population in the Guembeul Fauna Reserve, Senegal
Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, CSIC, Carretera de Sacramento s/n, La Cañada de San Urbano, E-04120 Almería, Spain
Direction des Parc Nationaux, PB 5135 Dakar-Fann, Senegal
Camino de Zafara, 8, Tudera-Fariza, E-49214 Zamora, Spain
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 May 2012; in revised form: 23 July 2012 / Accepted: 3 August 2012 / Published: 8 August 2012
Simple Summary: The reintroduction of plants and animals to the wild is an important technique to save endangered species from extinction. To perform post release monitoring is crucial to evaluate reintroduction outcomes. A Mohor gazelle reintroduction programme took place in Senegal in 1984. We attempt to explain why the size of the reintroduced gazelle population has diminished in recent years. We suggest that changes in habitat structure occurred over time and have very likely reduced the amount of suitable habitat for this species.
Abstract: Reintroduction is a widespread method for saving populations of endangered species from extinction. In spite of recent reviews, it is difficult to reach general conclusions about its value as a conservation tool, as authors are reluctant to publish unsuccessful results. The Mohor gazelle is a North African gazelle, extinct in the wild. Eight individuals were reintroduced in Senegal in 1984. The population grew progressively, albeit slowly, during the first 20 years after release, but then declined dramatically, until the population in 2009 was estimated at no more than 13–15 individuals. This study attempts to determine the likelihood of gazelle-habitat relationships to explain why the size of the gazelle population has diminished. Our results show that the Mohor gazelle in Guembeul is found in open habitats with less developed canopy where the grass is shorter, suggesting the possibility that changes in habitat structure have taken place during the time the gazelles have been in the Reserve, reducing the amount of suitable habitat. Reintroduction design usually concentrates on short-term factors that may affect survival of the released animals and their descendants (short-term achievement), while the key factors for assessing its success may be those that affect the long-term evolution of the population.
Keywords: evaluation of reintroduction; habitat structure; Nanger dama mhorr; post release monitoring; Senegal
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Moreno, E.; Sane, A.; Benzal, J.; Ibáñez, B.; Sanz-Zuasti, J.; Espeso, G. Changes in Habitat Structure May Explain Decrease in Reintroduced Mohor Gazelle Population in the Guembeul Fauna Reserve, Senegal. Animals 2012, 2, 347-360.
Moreno E, Sane A, Benzal J, Ibáñez B, Sanz-Zuasti J, Espeso G. Changes in Habitat Structure May Explain Decrease in Reintroduced Mohor Gazelle Population in the Guembeul Fauna Reserve, Senegal. Animals. 2012; 2(3):347-360.
Moreno, Eulalia; Sane, Abibou; Benzal, Jesús; Ibáñez, Belén; Sanz-Zuasti, Joaquín; Espeso, Gerardo. 2012. "Changes in Habitat Structure May Explain Decrease in Reintroduced Mohor Gazelle Population in the Guembeul Fauna Reserve, Senegal." Animals 2, no. 3: 347-360.