Partly straddling the Sahelian and the Saharan areas of north-east Chad, Ennedi Massif is a water-rich desert landscape associated with the presence of large ephemeral streams and semi-permanent water pools. The Massif consists of two immense plateaus composed of highly permeable sedimentary rock resting on a granite basin. This vast water reservoir gives life to the desert, enabling Ennedi to support an astonishing diversity of species.
Over 525 species of flora have been listed so far, including several endemic species. The gueltas, or semi-permanent water pools, are home to numerous fish. Bird life in the Massif is highly diversified, as the area is a migratory crossroads that provides important habitat for at least 199 listed species utilizing it on their transcontinental movements.
Ennedi has long been a refuge for Saharan wildlife, with species such as addax, oryx, cheetah, Dama and Leptocere gazelles among others present in large numbers until the mid-20th century. While poaching and conflict almost eradicated these species, some exceptional wildlife spectacles remain. Still present are Barbary sheep, Dorcas gazelle, striped hyaena, baboon, patas monkey, caracal (desert lynx) and ratel (honey badger). Remarkably, a small relic population of crocodiles (Crocodylus suchus) persists in the Archei Guelta, the last known representatives of this species throughout the Sahara.
The restoration and conservation of Ennedi’s wildlife populations is a management priority. The process involves several key measures, including regular ecological data collection and long-term monitoring of key species, and the reintroduction of disappeared emblematic species.
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