- Climatic desiccation over the past 5000 years, and intense human hunting over the past 100 years, has obliterated most of these fauna. Now, in vast portions of the Sahara, merely rock, sand and sparse vegetation are found. The remnant large mammal fauna is highly threatened by ongoing over-hunting.
- There is also an intense pressure on any remaining populations of large mammals adapted to desert conditions. The populations of all such species have been greatly reduced by hunting for food, and also through hunting for sport and recreation. The addax (Addax nsaomaculatus) is now critically threatened with extinction, mainly due to intense over-hunting, and most of the other desert-adapted antelopes that may still occur in the ecoregion are endangered.
- The people that live in the Sahara desert consist of the Tuareg and the Bedouin tribes, which mainly herd cattle.
- People use the Sahara to build homes, out of the sand, and to create communities within the Sahara.
- The Sahara is a vast area of largely undisturbed habitat, principally sand and rock, but with small areas of permanent vegetation. The most degradation is found where water (oases, etc) is present. Here, habitats may be heavily altered by human activities. Previously existing tree cover has often been removed for fuel and fodder by nomadic pastoralists and traders.
- From a conservation perspective, the Sahara Desert is not well protected. Yet, this may be due to the low population and impracticality of defining borders over this vast area. Fewer than two million inhabitants reside throughout the entire Sahara Desert. The majority are nomads, predominantly the Tuareg, Tibbu, and Moors. They survive by nomadic pastoralism, hunting, and trading. Most of these people are found in the desert margins and they do not often spend much time in the central hyper-arid portion.
- Humans harm the ecosystem by drilling for oil, military testing/ training, taking the land from animals within the ecosystem, and general pollution.
- The ephemeral habitats of the Sahara, which only develop following rainfall, are not highly threatened by human activities. The more persistent pressures are found in ar
eas of permanent water (oases), or in areas where water comes close to the surface. Here, the local pressure on natural resources can be intense.
In recent years development projects have started in the deserts of Algeria and Tunisia using irrigated water pumped from underground aquifers. These schemes often lead to soil degradation and salinization because of "drainage" problems.FUN FACTOnly one protected area is recorded in the Sahara: Zellaf Nature Reserve in Libya!!!