The nature

The power of one, perhaps the most surprising aspect of nature is the power of one. Each living species has a key role in nature. As such, each of us can help save our mother nature.

Accordingly, the Association Djibouti Nature standpoint is that effective nature conservation can only be achieved through sound connection between people and nature.

The Djibouti Nature Association has built since its inception in 1999 an important history and reputation in terms of field studies and scientific research to improve knowledge of birds of the country in particular and voluntarily serves as the leading authority on the avifauna of Djibouti. In this capacity, it has contributed significantly to the knowledge of the critically endangered Djibouti francolin, the only endemic bird species known to date in the country, as well as the many key ecosystem sites commonly referred to as areas important birds and biodiversity areas known for its importance in hosting remarkable species of fauna and flora.

Djibouti Nature also remains an active and committed civil society organization that works tirelessly building the bridge connecting people and nature as one. Thus, it raises funds for local sustainable development projects aimed at helping to improve the living conditions of poor and vulnerable communities in the hinterland where the most important ecosystems remain intact and to support the daily life of a significant segment of the Djiboutian population who still practice a traditional nomadic lifestyle.

Add your voice and take immediate action to protect nature and improve people’s livelihoods by sharing the vision and mission of the Djibouti Nature Association by becoming a member or philanthropist donor. By uniting and harmonizing our efforts and actions, we can make a big difference.

Beira antelope

The Beira antelope or Beyrac in somali (dorcatragus megalotis) is an arid-adapted endemic antelope species to the Horn of Africa. The Beira is the only representative within its monotypic genus belonging to the order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae and Neotraginiae. Its distribution is restricted to mountains, hills and plateaus mainly in Northern Somalia, with further rather small distribution areas in Southern Djibouti and Northeastern Ethiopia.

The general appearance of this beautiful species is klipspringer-like. The basic body fur color is grey, with reddish-ochre limbs, upper neck and head. The creamy-white under part is separated by a dark-Grey stripe reaching from elbows to thighs. Very distinctive are the very large ears. Horns are found in males only.

As browsers the Beiras depend on foliage of various shrubs, herbs and succulent plants. The social structure is pairs and family groups, which defend territories. The Beira is listed as “vulnerable” in the 1996 IUCN Red List in Somalia and Ethiopia and as “possibly extinct” in Djibouti. Over some decades ago, the occurrence of the Beira antelope in Djibouti remained uncertain.

However, in 1992 its occurrence has been confirmed by sightings, photographs and video in Southern region of Djibouti in Ali-Sabieh but its population size and trends in Djibouti remains difficult. However, the regularity and circumstances of the sightings suggest that the species is rare but not endangered in Djibouti, at least for the time being

Djibouti Francolin

The Djibouti Francolin is a shy and elusive endemic gamebird classified as Critically Endangered species only known from two small important bird and biodiversity areas (Forêt du Day and Mabla) in Djibouti, which is severely fragmented and declining in both extent and quality, and within which the population is undergoing continuing decline. This means, if nothing is done, the species faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the immediate future (50% chance in ten years/three generations).

he critical issues of its survival appear to be the deterioration rate of its natural habitats, as evidenced by high mortality of the main woodland where it occurs. The reasons why its natural habitat is degenerating is not well understood but hypotheses have been suggested over the last decades.

These generally consist of a combination of factors such as: timber extraction for construction and firewood; over-grazing; and/or an apparent change in climate towards hotter and drier conditions which has affected the productivity of the entire ecosystem.

Notes on Day forest

The Forêt du Day ecosystem is dry tropical Afromontane mixed woodland occupies an area of c. 15 esq. km (White, 1983) in the Goda Massif mountain ranges in the North of Djibouti (11° 46’ N, 42° 39’ E) with an altitudinal range between c. 1200 m to c. 1750 m and is an Important Bird Area (BirdLife International, 2000) and proposed protected area lies. It consists also one of the few forested areas still remaining in the country where, historically, the dominant forest tree was African pencil cedar Juniperus procera, which formed a closed canopy forest until a dramatic decline in the last 20-30 years which left a large proportion of the junipers dead or dying, and the canopy open and the nearby Mabla Mountains. Available habitat at Forêt du Day halved between 1977 and 1983 and by 2006, 95% of the remaining plateau juniper was either dead or dying (Bealey et al. 2006).

In terms of ecosystem of global and national significance, the Forêt Du Day is the most important key site as home of a variety of rare, extremely arid-adapted species of fauna such as Critically Endangered species i.e. Djibouti Francolin, Leopard, small breeding population of the Endangered Egyptian Vulture, isolated small populations of green monkey and klipspringer etc… and flora such as respectively Endangered and Vulnerable Dracaena ombet and Livistona carinensis etc… were survived for many centuries as biological diversity and genetic reservoir and important natural resources to feed and contribute the community livelihood in a highly desert landscape in areas of the Djiboutian dry highlands.

The reasons for the poor condition of the juniper woodlands of Forêt du Day is unclear, but overgrazing by cattle, camels and goats, is certainly a major factor, possibly exacerbated by acid rains, climate changes and fungal diseases with no scientifically study evidences. Other threats include firewood collection, hunting and human disturbance. Although the species’ ecology and biology are also poorly known and its persisting behaviour to occur in dead and extremely degraded juniper woodland remains unclear for its long-term survival.

Mabla Moutains

Mabla is the second largest area of relict montane forest and it was described as contiguous areas to Forêt du Day with junipers forest in Djibouti but today there are no longer alive juniper trees in the area and the dominant tree species are Acacia seyal, Buxus hildebrandtii with locally abundant Acacia etbaica and common Acacia mellifera.

The area is confirmed currently with the Goda massif “Forêt du Day” to support a viable population of the Critically Endangered Djibouti Francolin (Welch et al. 2009).

Lake Abhé

The Lake Abhe is a salt lake situated in the embouchure of the Awash River forming a chain of six interconnected lakes positioned in the centre of the Afar Depression including Afambo, Bario, Gargori, Gummare and Laitali. Lake Abhé constitutes the largest permanent inland wetland ecosystem in Djibouti and is well-known for its landscapes with a plethora of thermal springs, only found the Djibouti side of the lake formed by “bizarre” chimneys lined up as human made structures “towering mineral deposits dating from the period when the was deeply flooded” which confer to this site an unconventional beauty rewarded to make more popular by the fiction movies “Planet of Apes” filmed entirely inside.

Furthermore, the lake is more renowned for its thousand and thousand of greater and lesser flamingos that flock to the site year around with at least 50 migrant species of water birds, White pelican and possibly cormorant may breed on the Ethiopian side. The site is relevant also other threatened wildlife such as spotted hyenas, Somali and Eritrean warthogs and Dorcas gazelles. It highly contributes the livelihoods of the nomadic Afar people who reside all surrounding arid areas in and over the border.

Seven Brothers Islands

The Sept–Frères, is a group of six offshore volcanic islands next to the North-east coastal plain in the Bab el Mandeb straits, largely empty of vegetation, which together Ras Siyyan, forms the Sept Frères.

The islands support important breeding Seabird species such as white-eyed and sooty gulls, swift and lesser crested, white-checked, bridled terns and red-billed tropicbird. Osprey and sooty falcon also breed in the islands.

In addition and in certain weather conditions (wind directions), the islands play an important role in assisting migrating raptors complete their crossing of the Bab el Mandeb straits.

Musha / Maskali Islands

Îles Musha / Maskali is Two ancient coral reef islands and several satellites islets, located at around 15 km in the North of Djibouti city in the Gulf of Tadjoura. The larger Island, Musha, supports an extensive stands of mangroves and sueada sp.

The islands and particularly its satellite islets is known as one of the breeding areas which used by red-billed tropicbird, white-eyed gull, bridled tern, Eurasian spoon bill, osprey, Goliath, striated and western reef herons, chestnut –bellied sandgrouse and possibly some mangrove warblers i.e. clamorous reed warbler.

The site is colonized by Indian House Crow and its presence has significant negative impacts on the breeding success of all species (Houssein Rayaleh, pers.com).

Haramous / Loyada

Haramous/Loyada consists of two main wet habitats but for simplicity is designated as one site and part of it, was declared as the first and only Ramsar site of the country when Djibouti ratified Wetlands Convention in 2003. The site supports large inter-tidal mudflats with mangroves patches in several areas. The eastern coastal terrestrial part of the site is formed low sandy plain intersected by well vegetated wadis and covered with sparse acacia and shrubs.

The area supports large populations of passage and wintering shorebirds some of them are estimated as more than 1% of global population i.e. Crab Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Lesser and Greater Sandpipers as well as more than ten species of herons, Sacred ibis, Yellow-billed and Abdim’s Storks and Greater and Lesser Flamingos. In addition, individual of Arabian bustard and Arabian Golden Sparrow variable flocks, Greater or Lesser Hoopoe larks can be observed in the area (Houssein Rayaleh pers om).

Galafi / Hanlé Plain

The Hanlé plain has similar biotope which constitutes large alluvial depression with extensive low mix acacia scrub, shallow wadis, and vast sand mats scattered low hills bordered by steep-sided mountains. In several small places, the area support permanent freshwater that hold large stands of doum palm Hyphaene such as Hyphaene and patches of marsh.

Hanlé including Galafi, Daoudaoua and Gagadé plains hold ostrich breeding small population and the freshwater areas support small numbers of breeding water birds such as spur-winged plover, three banded plover, black crake and Egyptian goose. And the area is known the only Djibouti record of long-tailed cormorant, malachite kingfisher and white-browed coucal (Welch and Welch 1998).

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