Saudi Gazelle

The Saudi gazelle, Gazella saudiya, is an extinct species of gazelle once found in the Arabian peninsula. It is extinct due to hunting by humans in its native lands. It was declared to be extinct in 2008, but it is likely to have disappeared before then.

The Saudi gazelle once lived in gravel and sandy plains with acacias of the northern and western Arabian peninsula from Kuwait to Yemen, with most of the records coming from western Saudi Arabia. It was found singly or in groups up to 20.

The Saudi gazelle was formerly seen as a subspecies of the Dorcas gazelle, which is why its decline and extinction received so little attention from conservationists. Recent genetic studies proved its position as a separate species. Apart from genetic differences, the Saudi gazelle also had shorter legs than the Dorcas gazelle and was lighter in color.

The species was always rare and declining due to excessive hunting; it has not been seen for a few decades, and was declared to be extinct in the wild in 1980. Recent genetic analysis of all reported specimens of G. saudiya in captive collections has shown these represent different species or hybrids. Despite frequent surveys attempting to find pure Saudi gazelles in the wild and privately owned, no evidence of surviving individuals has been found. The Saudi gazelle was officially declared extinct by the IUCN in 2008.

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