Dama gazelle

Known for their extremely long legs, which lift their bodies off the hot desert sand, helping to keep them cool

Eric Kilby

One of the most elegant and striking animals found in the arid regions of Africa. Native to the Sahel and Sahara, this beautiful gazelle is known for its slender build, long legs, and graceful movements. It is a large and slender antelope, with males being slightly larger than females. 

One of the most notable features of the Dama gazelle is its stunning coat, which changes color as the gazelle matures. Young Dama gazelles are usually reddish-brown on the back with white underparts, while adults develop a white body with a reddish-brown neck and head. Both males and females have horns, although the males’ horns are usually thicker and longer, reaching up to 14 inches. The horns are slightly curved and ridged, adding to the gazelle’s majestic appearance.

Dama gazelles are adapted to live in harsh desert and semi-desert environments. They can be found in areas with sparse vegetation, including dry grasslands, savannas, and scrublands. These gazelles are highly adaptable and can survive with minimal water, obtaining most of their hydration from the plants they eat.

As herbivores, Dama gazelles feed primarily on leaves, shoots, grasses, and fruits. They have a unique way of standing on their hind legs to reach high branches and leaves that other herbivores cannot access. This ability allows them to find food in areas where vegetation is sparse.

During the dry season, when food is scarce, Dama gazelles can travel long distances in search of better grazing areas. Their keen sense of smell helps them locate edible plants and water sources in their arid habitat.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Algeria
2015
Possibly Extinct
Burkina Faso
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally since 1980s
Chad
2015
Libya
Official estimate
EX
Last reported in 1970s
Mali
2015
Mauritania
0
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Morocco
2015
Possibly Extinct
Niger
2015
Nigeria
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally since 1990s
Senegal
Official estimate
EX
Extirpated in late 1970s
Sudan
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally since 1980s
Tunisia
Official estimate
EX
Last observed in 1950s

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No