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sahel: eco info: animals

animals The Sahel's wildlife is constantly on the move, scavenging for water and spotty vegetation. Elephants and giraffes frequently raid farmers' plots for greenery. But tough living conditions mean you're more likely to see herds of cattle, sheep and goats. Rodents already reign as the region's most common animal.

Zebu (Bos indicus):

Zebu This type of cattle has been a native of sub-Saharan Africa since roughly 400 AD when it was introduced from India and Pakistan via East Africa. Zebu cattle make up the majority of the cattle herds that dominate the Sahel's landscape. Zebu in the Sahel are usually named according to the ethnic group that herds them (Fulani, Tuareg, Baqqara, ) and come in multiple varieties of weight, shape and horn size. They are mostly used for milk.

Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis):

Giraffe Along with elephants, the giraffe is one of the most frequent browsers of the Sahel. Known to the Romans as a "spotted camel" (camelopardalis), the giraffe can reach heights of 18 feet. It is native to sub-Saharan Africa and can be found most frequently in savanna or in bush country. Preferring to travel in herds, giraffes can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour at a full gallop. The giraffe is protected in East Africa, but hunting in the Sahel has caused its numbers in West Africa to decline.

Warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus):

Warthog Found throughout Africa, the warthog likes to feed on grass and any other vegetation. It migrates with the season. The warthog stands about 30 inches at the shoulder; both sexes sport tusks. In males, these tusks can reach as long as 23 inches. It lives usually in aardvark tunnels.
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Senegal gerbil (Taterillus pygargus):

Senegal gerbil The most common of the mammals found in the Sahel, the Senegal gerbil is also a fierce consumer of crop seeds, roots and general vegetation. At times, it has been known to consume as much as five to ten percent of the Sahel's annual production of vegetation. The rodent can be found throughout Senegal, The Gambia, western Mauritania and western Mali. It grows to about 4 to 6 inches long and prefers to live in shallow burrows dug in dry, sandy land.

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