Iraq's gazelles under threat from illegal traffickers

Iraq tries to increase the number of its endangered Goitered Gazelles by placing them in reserves, but lack of funding remains a challenge.

Image by Hugo Goodridge/Al-Monitor.

BAGHDAD — A Facebook post last month putting up for sale several gazelles has raised questions on whether the Iraqi authorities are doing enough to protect this endangered species.

The post, put up by Ahmad Ahmad, a user who sells animals online under what looks like a fake name, offered several endangered gazelles. Online sales of rare animals are common in Iraq, where a Facebook page for the sale of Goitered Gazelles originates.

A rare and endangered species globally, the Goitered Gazelle gets its name from an enlargement of the, which monitors endangered species, the Goitered Gazelle is a vulnerable species whose population has declined by 30% in the last 14 years. IUCN estimates that there are between 42,000 and 49,000 Goitered Gazelles in the world. The main threats to this species are illegal hunting, for meat and to a lesser extent for trophies, and habitat loss due to economic development or conversion to agriculture.

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