Egypt's land area is predominately comprised by semi-arid, arid, and stony deserts, bounded by its Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea coastlines. These regions provide a suitable ecosystem for a large number of mammals. Most of these mammals face threats to their populations from hunting and illegal poaching, habitat degradation and fragmentation due to human activities, which have led to the critical states of the populations of some of these animals such as the Arabian leopard. Most of the species in Egypt are common to the Asian and Arabian countries such as Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
Arabian Leopard (Panthera pardus nimr)
The Arabian leopard is a critically endangered species native to the mountain uplands and hilly steppes of the Arabian Peninsula. In Egypt, the leopard is found in the Sinai Peninsula. The pelage hues of the leopard vary from pale yellow to golden with patterned rosettes. The male leopard has a length of 5.97 to 6.66 feet and weighs 30 kilograms while the females weigh 20 kilograms with a length of 5.25 to 6.3 feet. The nocturnal animal feeds mainly on small to medium prey mostly Arabian gazelle, Nubian ibex, rock hyrax, small rodents, birds, insects, and livestock. Threats to the leopard include prey depletion, habitat degradation, and fragmentation.
Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus)
The Mediterranean monk seal is a critically endangered mammal which grows to an adult size of around 7.9 feet in length, with an average weight of 240 to 400 kilograms. Males are heavier than females. Males have black fur while females have brown to gray fur which is paler on the belly and nearly white in males. The seal has upward facing nostrils and a short, broad and flat snout. Breeding takes place throughout the year with peak seasons in October and November. The seal has a lifespan of 20 to 25 years and feeds on fish and mollusks. The major threat to the seal is human interference through hunting and fishing.
Addax (Addax nasomaculatus)
The addax is a critically endangered antelope with long twisted horns of between 55 and 85 centimeters in length. Males reach heights of up to 105 to 115 centimeters, and females 95 to 110 centimeters, at the shoulders. The coat varies in color from grayish brown in winter to white or sandy-blonde in summer. The addax is well adapted to the desert habitats and from which the antelope feeds on grass, leaves, leguminous herbs and bushes. The addax is a slow moving antelope making it an easy prey for predators and hunters leading to the rapid decline in its population and extinction in some places.
Conservation of Egyptian Mammals
Some of Egypt’s other endangered mammals include the Rhim gazelle, the Nubian ibex, and the Arabian Oryx. While a few protected areas and laws have been established, these mammals continue to face threats to their populations, which are still declining in an alarming fashion.