The Algerian Saharan landscape supports the only remaining known population of Saharan cheetah and, as with the WAP landscape in West Africa, has a critical conservation need. The last population of cheetah in the Sahara covers a vast expanse of the desert in the Ahaggar/Ajjer region in southern Algeria into Mali, and possibly into Libya, with likely connectivity into northern Niger. As with the WAP landscape, this population is of such critical importance that effort must focus on it.
In this region the CCI focused on providing support to the Algerian government in their efforts to conserve cheetah and on addressing underlying drivers of wildlife decline in the region, working with the Algerian government to secure their endorsement of the National Conservation Action Plan, who have designated the date of validation as a National Cheetah Day. This is the only known significant population of cheetah surviving in the Sahara and hence has critical global importance and requires urgent conservation support.
Information was compiled from across the Sahara-Sahel to demonstrate that insecurity and proliferation of arms has led to widespread illegal hunting across the region, with serious impacts on the ungulates on which cheetah depend, and we have provided a series of recommendations to safeguard wildlife during conflicts. We have also strongly advocated for adoption of the International Law Commission’s (ILC) principles to protect the environment in relation to armed conflicts using a variety of approaches, including scientific and popular articles and leading on a Motion adopted by the IUCN.
CCI supported and supervised an Algerian student, Farid Belbachir, to undertake his PhD on Saharan cheetah. This included camera trap surveys of cheetah in the landscape that provided the first estimate of cheetah density and abundance in the region (link to our article). This showed that, with densities as low as one individual per 4000km2, the cheetah population in the landscape is extremely vulnerable.
Somewhere mention that Cheetahs in this area are from the critically endangered subspecies Acinonyx jubatus hecki.
Durant, Sarah & Brito, José (2019). Protect environment from armed conflicts. Nature, 571.
Projets Parcs Culturels Algériens (PPCA)