Dama gazelle protected in Chad

Dama gazelle protected in Chad

In January 2020, MAF was approached by the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) to help track and capture three dama gazelles. These highly endangered species were moved to a reserve so they can breed safely and have their genetic diversity preserved.

In January 2020, MAF was approached by the Sahara Conservation Fund to help track and capture three endangered dama gazelles in Chad's Manga Region and move them to the Ouadi Achim Wildlife Reserve in central Chad so they can breed safely...

Justin Chuven works for Abu Dhabi's Environmental Agency in the UAE - just one of the agencies on the ground involved in this delicate operation. Justin explains why this mission is so vital:

MAF pilot Phil Henderson took the Cessna 182 and spent two nights at a makeshift camp in the desert in western Chad, as SCF and partners worked tirelessly to achieve a remarkable goal.

Makeshift camp in the Sahara

Over the past few years, the gazelles' habitat has been increasingly occupied by humans, bringing with them livestock who use the land for grazing. This has forced the gazelles further away from food sources and habitable space. Poaching is also a threat. As a result, the local population has drastically dwindled nearing annihilation.

'It's great working with MAF and we hope to do so again.'

John Newby, Senior Advisor, Sahara Conservation Fund

Using a MAF aircraft to cover the extensive area where the gazelles are thought to be, the team successfully track and tranquillise four of them. They are then transported to ‘Base Camp Oryx’ - a secure area where they can breed, and their valuable genetic material can be used to ensure the longevity of the species.

Phil Henderson, a SCF worker and 'Becki' the gazelle!The gazelle carried by MAF is named 'Becki' after MAF Chad's pilot and operations manager Becki Dillingham. 'Becki' the gazelle is flown by MAF pilot Phil Henderson in the 182; exciting for him since people and rabbits have been his only live passengers before!

'Becki' is accompanied by a vet and helpfully has some tubing secured around her horns to avoid damaging the upholstery.

 

Phil says: 'Everyone is very happy to have the gazelles in their recovery enclosure, looking healthy.'

John Newby, Senior Adviser at SCF, adds, 'It's great working with MAF and we hope to do so again.'

The African Conservation Foundation writes about the mission here.