Feltkamp, E. & Krupp, F. (eds.), Establishment of a Marina Habitat and Wildlife Sanctuary for the Gulf Region. Final report of phase II. Jubail, Frankfurt a.M.

The Reintroduction of Gazelles into the Gulf Sanctuary

A b s t r a c t: One of the objectives of the Sanctuary is to manage the terrestrial part of the reserve as a potential reintro­duction site for gazelles, which used to occur in the area until the early 1960s. Literature references and habitat characteristics suggest that these were sand gazelles (Gazella subgutturosa marica). The presence of gazelles would increase the attractiveness and value of the Sanctuary and serve as compensation for imposed restrictions in land use. During two surveys in May and October 1993 the feasibility of reintroducing sand gazelle in the Sanctuary was investigated by a joint team from the CEC Project, the King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre (KKWRC), Thumama, and NCWCD, Riyadh. The present state of the area as gazelle habitat was evaluated and preconditions and potentially limiting factors for the success of the reintroduction were identified. The coastal peninsula Ras al-Abkhara and Abu A1i Island were selected as possible release sites. The former would act as a primary release site to restore a free-living sand gazelle population within the terrestrial part of the Sanctuary while the latter would be an experimental introduction site as a supporting public relations exercise and as a research project to study the habitat use and feeding ecology of sand gazelle in coastal saline areas. An evaluation is given of the vegetation composition and cover at both sites. Present forms of land use, potential predators and other factors which may interfere with the success of the reintroduction are discussed. A strategy to reintroduce sand gazelles into these areas is proposed.