Addax Antelope Released Now Roaming Free in the Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve

Ten addax antelope, locally extinct in the reserve, have been released into the Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve, as part of an ongoing initiative to re-establish a viable population in the region.

Terkei, Chad: Today, the Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve celebrated a historic moment with the release of ten addax antelope back into the wild. Having arrived in the reserve on November 8th, and after over a month of constant supervision monitoring and care, this release signifies the first step towards reintroducing viable numbers of addax back into the reserve. This was made possible by the combined efforts of the Government of the Republic of Chad, African Parks and Sahara Conservation with funding support from the European Union, the Fondation Segré, and the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

Mr. Mahamat Abdelkerim Hanno, Minister of the Environment, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development, said, "The reintroduction of the critically endangered addax antelope represents a stride forward in our conservation efforts in the Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve. Chad has shown a progressive approach to conservation through the rehabilitation of its protected areas, and fostering sustainable socio-economic development. We are grateful to our partners and the communities, who are at the heart of long-term conservation success, and look forward to continuing our close collaboration."

The ten addax were carefully transported to Chad from another reintroduction programme, in Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Wildlife Reserve, to their new home in the Ennedi reserve. This marks the start of a critical pilot project, with plans to expand the number of translocated animals in the years to come. The ultimate aim is to establish a healthy viable population exceeding 500 individuals, as a vital step in securing the long-term survival of the species.

“Over the last three years, more than 90 addax have already been successfully translocated to the Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Wildlife Reserve where their numbers are growing. The creation of this second population in Ennedi will greatly enhance the chances of securing the future of this critically endangered species in Chad. Sahara Conservation was glad to share its own experience, data and lessons learned from reintroducing scimitar-horned oryx and addax previously. Our goal is to undertake “action before extinction” and save this species from disappearing from the face of the Earth,” said Tim Woodfine, Chief Executive Officer of Sahara Conservation.

The addax is a desert species listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Once found in large numbers in vast arid regions, it completely disappeared from Chad. As a result, Sahara Conservation dedicated years of preparation to bring the species back to its natural habitat in Chad and is now assisting African Parks in the antelope’s historic return to Ennedi. To assess future action towards the establishment of sustainable populations, a population and habitat viability analysis (PHVA) for the reintroduced species will be carried out.

Spanning over 50,000 square kilometres, the Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve boasts a spectacular desert landscape of cliffs, arches, mushroom rocks, giant labyrinths, and water catchments and is home to over 200 bird species, as well as iconic desert-dwelling mammals such as Barbary sheep, dorcas gazelle, and striped hyaena.

The release of the addax to the wild follows the return of the red-necked ostrich to Ennedi, where a healthy population of over 50 individuals are now living wild in the reserve – a testament to the dedication and commitment of all parties involved.

African Parks Country Director Siam Ahmat said: “Restoring the Sahelo-Saharan ecosystem in Ennedi is a multifaceted effort, and the reintroduction of the addax is a key piece of this puzzle. It's not only about protecting a single species, but revitalising the entire landscape. We have seen success with the red-necked ostrich, and we're confident that the return of the addax will contribute significantly to this restoration process. This endeavour is a testament to our dedication and to the invaluable support of our partners, the Government of the Republic of Chad, Sahara Conservation, and the European Union, the Fondation Segré, and the Dutch Postcode Lottery."

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Notes to editors:

  • About Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve: The Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve (ENCR), in north-eastern Chad, is 50,141km2 of sculpted natural landscape marked by cliffs, arches, mushroom-shaped rocks, giant labyrinths and water catchments. Before African Parks assumed management of Ennedi in 2018 in partnership with the Chadian government, the area had been subject to illegal hunting and unsustainable resource extraction. The reserve is an important sanctuary for over 200 species of birds, both permanent residents and transcontinental migrants, as well as iconic desert-dwelling mammals such as the Barbary sheep, Dorcas gazelle and striped hyaena. Now that the area is effectively protected, wildlife restoration projects are becoming a reality: the red necked ostrich has been successfully reintroduced and plans to introduce other species are underway.
  • About Sahara Conservation: Sahara Conservation is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of the unique wildlife, ecosystems and landscapes of the Sahara and the Sahel. Since 2004, Sahara Conservation has been implementing sustainable initiatives to conserve the natural and cultural wealth of the Sahara, such as the protection and reintroduction of endangered species, the conservation of key habitats and protected area management. Working closely with local communities, governments, scientific experts and international partners, Sahara Conservation is also committed to raising public awareness of conservation issues in the Sahara and Sahel.
  • About African Parks: African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. African Parks manages 22 national parks and protected areas in 12 countries covering over 20 million hectares in Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, the Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. For more information, please, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook