Barbary sheep on the edge of survival in North Africa

04 June 2014 | News story

A workshop was organized the 27-29 May 2014 in Tunisia, aiming to address the current conservation situation of the Barbary sheep in this country.

The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, with the support of Tunisia’s Direction Générale des Forêts and the Ministry of Environment, has carried out a workshop to discuss and validate a strategic conservation plan for the Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia) in Tunisia. The goal of this workshop was to discuss with different stakeholders about the current situation for this species at the national level, to identify the main threats and their underlying causes as well as to agree on conservation actions to reverse them. Twenty-five people from different Ministries, national and international NGO’s and scientific experts on the species participated in this two-day meeting which was followed by a visit to Boukornine National Park.

The Barbary sheep is a North African species who was formerly widespread in rugged and mountainous terrain from deserts and semi-deserts to open forests, but suffer a strong population decline due to poaching and competition from domestic stock. This species is a generalist herbivore combining grazing with browsing, and it can survive without drinking water for long periods (even years). The species is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.

This is the first stakeholder’s workshop organized as part of the project “Improving capacities for species conservation in the Mediterranean region” which receives support from the Mava Foundation, Junta de Andalucía, Organismo Autónomo de Parques Nacionales and Fundación Biodiversidad from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Other two workshops will take place in Morocco and Algeria to validate a strategic conservation plan for the Great Bustard (Otis tarda) and the Barbary Macaque (Macaca sylvanus) respectively. The results will provide the national authorities with a route map to address conservation of these threatened species, as well as the foundations to continue working on conservation of threatened species.

For further info: Violeta Barrios