Who runs along the archipelago's largest island, Dahlak Kebir, during the hottest months of the year, have to carefully scrutinize the beaches because it could assist the unusual spectacle of a herd of gazelles busy at taking a refreshing bath. Indeed on the island live, according to estimates, from 2000 to 9000 Sommering gazelles (Gazella soemmeringi), who have managed to survive a hostile climate. Not knowing the geological history of the islands, the popular interpretation is that the gazelles have been introduced to the islands by the Italians, however, claim contradicted by Rippel, the German zoologist who discovered scientifically this
gazelle on a trip in the early nineteenth century. Indeed, while not gone to Dahlak Kebir, he informed that the species was present on the island decades before the arrival of the Italians. It is conceivable that the gazelles have been imported by man in an earlier period, but the peculiar characteristics of this population are to believe the opposite. Gazelles are in fact quite different from those of the continent, particularly for small size. This insular dwarfism is a very common phenomenon in large mammals, perhaps as evolutionary consequences of the absence of predators, but it is also a phenomenon that probably requires quite a long time to come true. The
most plausible explanation for the presence of gazelles is that they are arriving on the island walking along the shore when at the end of the last glaciation Dahlak Kebir was joined the eritrean current costs, due to the retreated of the sea. They have survived only on Dahlak Kebir island because only an island so large probably was able to maintain a population large enough to protect them from fluctuations due to the foreseeable human exploitation during the past millennia and unpredictable spread of epidemics. In more recent times, their survival has been and is still favored by the kindness of local people who do not kill them, because
they believe that God sends the rain not to humans, but for wildlife, which must therefore must be protected, in order to don’t irritate God that might otherwise send the drought for years. At the present time therefore the gazelles of Dahlak Kebir are not exposed to serious dangers, but it is important to think of a long-term protection, also considering that this is a so differentiate population that they can be considered a subspecies of its own, if not a true species, as suggested by Jonathan Kingdon, a leading expert in African mammals.


Are very few the eritreans names that refer to birds, a sign that people in Eritrea do not even glancing at, not even to expel. Excluding the collection of a few 'eggs and chicks of some species of colonial birds, they can lead their lives almost undisturbed by man. The lack of modern development of the islands has also saved the Dahlak by those ecological disasters that have instead afflicted other archipelagos. There are any endemic birds of Dahlak, given their recent origin, but the islands are a nesting area for many species of global importance such as the brown booby (Sula leucogaster), the sooty falcon (Falco concolor), the white-eyed gull
(Larus leucophthalmus) and the crab plover (Dromas ardeola). Some species breed during the winter, when the sporadic rains cover the islands of a green cloak, and insects and seeds become abundant. Other species, like many ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), prefer the winter season, perhaps just to leave the chicks alone during fishing trips without running the risk of being dried by the sun. Many seabirds such as terns, gannets and white-eyed gulls, preferring instead the hot summer season, which coincides with an abundance of the right size fish to feed their chicks. Also the crab-plover nesting in the summer. They are unusual birds
that have elected the islands of Eritrea as their most important breeding area in the world. They are beautiful birds that feed on crabs bank and that nest in colonies, on long tunnels dug into the sand to protect the egg and the chick from excessive heat and from birds of prey. The Dahlak are on a major migratory route and thousands of birds stop there for refreshment. In particular, the wide sandy or muddy areas exposed during low tides are teeming with limicolous in correspondence to the migration to and from Europe and Asia. As well many will spend the winter because the winter high temperature allows the continuous activity
of the prey they eat. The inland of the islands instead is important for the staging of many species that are not related to wetlands; but these do not always find the fresh water they need to drink, especially in autumn, when in the islands don’t rain for six months and then they make a stop only long enough to recover from the fatigue of travel. Has not yet been done a serious and in-depth study on the migration route that passes through the Dahlak, but it is certain that someone considers these islands important for migration and draws the necessary conclusions. Many hundreds, perhaps thousands of sooty falcons, which come to
around March Dahlak from wintering areas in Madagascar and Mozambique to bring up family at the expense of exhausted migrants that seek for rest in the islands.

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