Endangered Genets Reappear in Algeria, Amid Pandemic

Photo of a genet in Botswana, CC BY 2.0, via Courthouse News

ALGIERS, Algeria (AFP) — The genet, a cat-like species threatened with extinction in Algeria, has reappeared in forests of the North African country, likely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said Tuesday.

“We had not seen them for a long time, but we have now,” said Ilham Kerboua, head of wildlife at the forestry directorate, adding that the number of these animals in the wild remained minimal.

Shy and nocturnal, the genet is a carnivore with thick, dotted fur and a tail almost as long as its slender body. It is often mistaken for a cat.

“Generally speaking, the confinement (of people due to the coronavirus) has seen biodiversity, nature regain some of its rights. Fauna like peace and quiet,” said Kerboua.

The genet is the third endangered species that has reappeared in Algeria in recent months.

The Saharan cheetah, a feline that had not been seen for 10 years, was spotted in May in Ahaggar National Park, in the far southern region of Tamanrasset.

“The cheetah is a special case. It never disappeared, except for years we did not see it,” Kerboua told AFP.

“But we managed to film it with camera traps,” she said, adding there were “very few” remaining Saharan cheetahs, whose natural habitat straddles southern Algeria, Mali and Niger.

The striped hyena has also reappeared in Tipaza, in northwest Algeria. But this scavenger, which fears humans, is hunted due to local superstitions.

© Agence France-Presse

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