The Steering Committee of the CMS Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes project in Niger met for the third time in Niamey 16th February 2012 to review progress regarding anti-poaching and the planned designation of Termit as a nature reserve.
The Committee was chaired by Mr Mamadou Manane, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Water and Environment. The Committee is composed of members of the General Directorate of Forests, regional environmental representatives, mayors of the main communities of the Termit area, local NGOs, the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF), the EU Delegation in Niger, UNDP and CMS. SCF is a strategic partner of CMS in this project, both contributing to its implementation and also co-financing some of the activities.
The area of Termit Tin Toumma harbors the last wild population of addax in the world, as well as dama and dorcas gazelles, Barbary sheep, cheetah, Arabian and Nubian bustards, a breeding colony of lappet-faced vultures and many other species of birds, mammals and reptiles.
The Steering Committee reviewed and validated the activity report of 2011 and approved the budget and action plan for 2012. The Project team presented the main results of 2011 and highlighted the increase in poaching and human disturbance related to the oil exploration activities that are taking place in the eastern side of the area. The construction of a pipeline and associated transport infrastructure has increased the overall accessibility in the region as well as the number of vehicles and people. Poachers mainly target dorcas gazelle, but there is an increasing danger that they could seek addax as well. The human presence in the area has already caused the addax population to split into two different groups, thus increasing the risk of extinction of this critically endangered species.
Combating illegal hunting is one of the project’s main priorities. Despite the difficulties of working in the area the anti-poaching brigades have arrested 19 poachers and seized 37 carcasses of dorcas gazelles and 3 young gazelles. In October 2011 a network of poachers was dismantled by the regional brigade of Zinder. With the election of a community agent involved in the project as Mayor of Ngourti, the Project will have a key ally in an area seriously affected by poaching. More....