6 endangered animals in Egypt – he points out
10,000-year-old rock and wall drawings show that Egypt was once home to giraffes and elephants, bulls and rhinos, lions and leopards. Such an image of wild animals has been shattered by successive periods of drought and human civilizations until barren land and human colonies cover the landscape.
However, the current nature of Egypt, from mountains, oases and valleys to wetlands and marine systems, still hosts a large number of terrestrial and aquatic organisms, which you must first know about in order to preserve what remains of the heritage.
According to 2016 data from the Ministry of Environment, the number of species threatened with extinction in Egypt is 153 species of animals, 36 species of insects and 14 species of birds. Here are examples of animals that inhabit Egypt that are globally threatened or endangered.
1. Egyptian sup
It may not really look as elegant as it appears on the Egyptian flag, but this vulture, with its yellow face and downy neck feathers, is distinguished from other eagles by its intelligence and honorable royal history.
The ancient Egyptians consecrated it and recognized its protection as a symbol of the royal family, and they also used it as a hieroglyphic letter, so they call it the “pharaoh’s saw”. It is almost the only eagle that can use tools to its advantage, as it picks up sharp stones and uses them to crack hard ostrich eggs to eat them, and also uses tiny twigs to wrap tufts of wool around the nest.
The vulture plays a vital role in disposing of dead animal carcasses, but is threatened by its exposure to deadly agricultural chemicals and animal feed drugs such as antibiotics and the painkiller diclofenac. She is also vulnerable to electrocution from power lines, poaching and her mummified corpse being used as a monument.
Like others, Egypt represents an important stop on the way of thousands of migratory birds from European and Asian countries to Africa, where they can enjoy a warm winter. Many of these species are threatened with extinction, such as the gazelle, mountain eagle, eastern golden eagle, and bald ibis.
2. Sinai blue butterfly
From birds of prey to one of the smallest butterflies in the world, the Sinai baton blue, which lives exclusively in the Sinai Desert within the St. Catherine Reserve.
Butterflies feed on the nectar of thyme flowers, and depend on it at all stages of their lives, from egg hatching, through the caterpillar and cocoon stages, until they become adult butterflies. And therein lies the problem, as what threatens these young butterflies are patches of thyme host plants that are shrinking due to overgrazing and over-harvesting of the plant for medicinal purposes. Also, climate change and rising temperatures with increasing drought put the plant itself at risk of extinction.
3. Ghazal Al-Reem
Arab poets used the name “Reem” in their ghazal poems, after this graceful, wide-eyed gazelle with slender horns crowning its head, also known as the white gazelle. The gazelle lives in isolated areas of sand dunes or seas of sand in the Sahara desert in Egypt, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia, and emerges early in the morning and evening to escape the intense heat in search of grass that supplies it with water and energy.
But the harsh nature of the desert is not the only thing he has to deal with, as these deer suffer from poaching for their meat and antlers, and are killed as a sport for hunting enthusiasts, especially after the events of the Arab Spring and the worsening of law enforcement in light of economic hardship. Likewise, the expansion of the desert for grazing and cattle breeding negatively affects their habitat and their numbers, which have fallen to approximately 300-600 adults.
In Egypt, the Al-Rim gazelle was present in the Wadi El-Rayyan Reserve, but has already died out, leaving only a few unknown numbers in Siwa and the White Desert.
The Red Sea is one of the most important water reservoirs for biodiversity globally, especially for sharks. These creatures, of which people are overly afraid, attract millions of diving tourists, and are also among the most endangered sea creatures due to man.
Read also: Why do sharks attack people?
The whale shark, known as “Bahloul” among local fishermen, is the largest living fish ever. It is a risk of by-catch, especially since fishermen use it as a sign of tuna and throw nets around it.
While the practice of “finning sharks” poses the greatest threat to sharks such as hammerhead sharks, great white sharks and basking sharks. Where the fins are cut off for use in food and traditional medicine, then the shark is thrown into the water, unable to swim, to fall to the bottom of the ocean to die of suffocation or to be eaten by predators.
5. Humpback dolphin of the Indian Ocean
As the name suggests, this species of dolphin has a humped back or a camel’s hump-like ridge on top with an extended dorsal fin. It is a shy species that is not known to interact with humans like other dolphins. Despite this, it prefers to live in shallow waters near the coast of the Red Sea, at a distance of no more than 3 km from the shore and at a height of less than 25 meters from the bottom, which makes it more vulnerable to human disturbance. and pollution.
The main danger for these dolphins is by-catch, as they are inadvertently caught in fishermen’s nets and remain immersed in the water until drowning. Many humpback dolphins have been identified with injuries resulting from collisions with fishing gear.
Likewise, its natural habitat is not free from the effects of human destruction as a result of bottom dredging, marine land reclamation, blowing up installations, port construction, oil and gas exploration, and shipping. This is in addition to a cocktail of toxic chemicals from industrial and human waste that finds no refuge except in coastal waters.
Such activities disturb not only dolphins, but also another member of marine mammals, and another inhabitant of the shores of the Red Sea is threatened with extinction, which is the dugong.
Like a mermaid, the dugong has fin-like forelimbs and a hooked tail on its lower body, but don’t expect a face as pretty as Disney’s mermaid “Ariel”! Being a herbivore, it needs a massive snout and a muscular upper lip to help it feel and pluck sea grass from the bottom. Damage to these weeds caused by human activities limits the dugong’s food sources, prevents its reproduction and eventually leads to starvation.