Eritrea is located in eastern Africa and is known for having an extensive coastline.
Moreover, the country is renowned for serving as a “home” for 1-million-year human remains, which are essential in studying human evolution.
Besides this, Eritrea is home to several mammals and over 560 bird species!
However, habitat loss and human actions brought some species to the attention of the IUCN Red List.
As such, if you’re wondering what Eritrean animals are on the brink of extinction, keep reading, as we’ve prepared interesting details about some!
4. African Savanna Elephant
The African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana), sometimes called the African bush elephant, is the world’s largest extant terrestrial animal, as it can reach a height of up to 13 feet and a weight of up to 11.5 short tons.
Unfortunately, it is a pity to learn that the world is about to lose its largest terrestrial animal.
The species is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List, and the population is constantly decreasing.
Specialists confirm that the African savanna elephant population registered a more than 50% reduction over the last three generations, meaning around 75 years.
These elephants were historically found across all of Africa.
Today they live in 24 countries, Eritrea included, but their range is fragmented.
Furthermore, it’s believed that re-establishing the previous numbers is almost impossible.
A primary threat to their existence is poaching for ivory.
Although poaching registered a decline for some decades back in the 1990s, it has intensified since 2008, reaching a peak in 2011.
In some regions, poaching is still taking place, and its levels are believed to increase in the future in areas where African savanna elephants haven’t been affected.
Besides this, habitat degradation associated with infrastructure and agricultural development causes further population loss.
Luckily, several CITES-initiated instruments work against the illegal ivory trade, while the Elephant Trade Information System manages and tracks these illegal actions.
Besides these, other conservation efforts are in motion, and hopefully, the population trend will stabilize someday.
3. African Leopard
The leopard, Panthera pardus, is one of the world’s most famous felines, and, unfortunately, it is on the brink of extinction.
Leopards, known for their distinctive rosette-patterned coats and high speeds, are among the strongest terrestrial predators.
Despite that, their population trend is constantly decreasing, and they went extinct in some regions that had historically served as their home.
It is believed they’ve disappeared from around 36% of their original range in Africa.
Unfortunately, it is not known how many mature individuals are left.
Previous studies showed estimated numbers of 700,000 leopards, but other specialists believe further research is required as these results were inaccurate.
This significant population and range reduction is caused by persecution, habitat conversion, and killing in livestock defense.
The species is protected under legislation throughout its current range and listed on CITES Appendix I, but further conservation efforts are required.
2. African Wild Ass
The African wild ass (Equus Africanus) is a wild horse species.
It’s roughly 4 feet tall, has a short, smooth, grayish coat, and features a distinctive slender, dark dorsal stripe.
The African wild ass is found in desert or semidesert habitats.
It is known for having an excellent digestive system since it’s proficient in breaking down desert vegetation and absorbing the moisture required to survive.
The species is currently listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List and is found only in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
The African wild ass is divided into two subspecies – the Nubian and Somali wild ass, the latter of which is present in Eritrea.
Specialists estimate that only 23-200 mature individuals are left, and their population is still decreasing.
Other researchers believe there may be as many as 600 individuals, but there’s no official evidence to confirm this.
However, the most significant decrease is registered in Ethiopia, whereas the Eritrean population is stable.
Threats to their existence include hunting for food and medicinal purposes.
African wild ass bones and body parts are used to prepare soups that cure constipation, tuberculosis, and rheumatism.
Lack of water sources and interbreeding with domestic donkeys are other threats that can harm the African wild ass population.
1. Heuglin’s Gazelle
Also called the Eritrean gazelle, the Heuglin’s gazelle (Eudorcas tilonura) is a species in the Eudorcas genus.
It has a dark reddish-brown coat and a distinctive reddish stripe on the flanks.
These gazelles live in groups of up to four individuals and are found in dry grasslands and thorny bushlands.
The IUCN Red List first assessed the species as vulnerable in 1996.
It is now considered endangered because only 2,500-3,500 mature individuals are left.
The species lives only in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan.
More precisely, it is found in western Eritrea and north-western Ethiopia, at the southern Ethiopian massif foothills.
In Sudan, Heuglin’s gazelles are found only in the southern part of the Red Sea Hills.
Major threats to their population include hunting and habitat degradation.
The latter is caused by agricultural encroachment, drought, and overgrazing, to name a few.
Some populations live in protected areas, but further conservation efforts are required to avoid extinction.