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An Ultimate Ungulate Fact Sheet
Gazella cuvieri
Cuvier's gazelle
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Common name:
Scientific name:
Other names:
Cuvier's gazelle
Gazella cuvieri
Edmi gazelle, Edmi, Gazelle de Cuvier, Echtgazelle, Gacela de Cuvier

Physical Characteristics

Head and body length: 95-105 cm
Shoulder height: 60-69 cm
Tail length: 15-20 cm
Adult weight: 20-35 kg (males), 15-20 kg (females)

Cuvier's gazelle has grayish-brown upper-parts, making it one of the darkest gazelles. A wide blackish band runs from the hind legs forward to the front legs, dividing the upperparts from the white belly. The rump is white and is bordered on each side by a narrow black stripe. The tail is thin and entirely black. Typical of gazelles, the face is striped: a dark line runs from the inside corner of the eye to the corner of mouth, bordered on top by a wider whitish stripe. A conspicuous black spot sits across the bridge of the nose. Both males and females have horns, although those of females are narrower and smoother. In both sexes, the horns are nearly straight, bending only slightly outwards and backwards. The bases of the horns in males are very heavily ridged. Typical horn length is 25-37 cm for males and 20-30 cm for females.

Similar species
  • Among the gazelles, only the dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas) and slender-horned gazelle (Gazella leptoceros) have similar ranges. Both of these gazelles are much lighter in color compared to Cuvier's gazelle; their side stripes are faint and reddish instead of dark and blackish. The horns of the dorcas gazelle are more lyre-shaped, while those of the slender-horned gazelle are much longer.

Reproduction and Development

Gestation period: 160 days
Litter size: 1 or 2.
Sexual maturity: As early as 7 months (for females).

Most Cuvier's gazelles are born between March and May, although there is a second birthing season in October - these two periods have the most rainfall. Mothers will separate themselves from the herd prior to giving birth. At around one month old, infants will start eating solid food, although they will still nurse from their mothers.

Ecology and Behavior

Cuvier's gazelle generally spends the days in brushy areas, emerging at night to graze in open valleys. They may also enter farmers fields to eat crops (especially wheat). Some populations stay in the same area year-round, but others appear to be nomadic (wandering) or migratory between regions. Territories are held by males in early winter; these are marked with dung piles. The preorbital glands may be used to mark objects as well.

Family group: Small mixed-sex groups with around four animals, sometimes up to eight.
Diet: Grasses, herbs, and leaves from shrubs.
Main Predators: Jackals prey on young (other large predators have been exterminated).

Habitat and Distribution

Cuvier's gazelle is endemic to the Atlas Mountains in North Africa, living at elevations up to 2,600 meters above sea level. This species lives on stony plateaus, using pine and oak forests for shelter. The approximate range is depicted in the map below.

Range Map
(Redrawn from IEA, 1998; current localities adapted from de Smet, 1991 [Algeria]
and Loggers et al., 1992 [Morocco])

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List: Endangered (2008)
CITES Listing: Appendix I (2009).
Threats: Overhunting by humans, habitat loss/degradation due to livestock grazing, agriculture, and charcoal production.

The global wild population of Cuvier's gazelles is estimated to be between 1,750 and 2,950 animals, most of which live in Morocco.

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