Stretching from the desert in the north to the Sudano-Guinean savanna in the south and from dense tropical forests in the extreme southwest to the mountainous regions in the east, Sudan is a natural host to an exceptional diversity of wildlife. At least 34 species of antelopes alone have been identified, spread across and reflecting the great variety of habitat. Certain species are confined to specific localized habitats. Others cross great distances, migrating from one area to another each season. Certain regions of the country, such as the vast flood plains of the Nile and the marshlands of the
south, are practically inaccessible throughout the year or during a large part of it. It is in these ecosystems that certain species find ideal refuge from man and thrive in great numbers.
Sudan is probably the only country in the world with the greatest variety of big mammals living on land. It should be noted that animal husbandry and stockbreeding are very developed and widespread in Sudan, and can alone ensure the supply of animal proteins both for national consumption and for export needs. It is worth noting that Sudan was one of the first countries in Africa to designate wildlife protection areas as early as the 1930s. In Africa, Sudan has a prominent reputation as the region with most abundant game and thriving wildlife tourism. Geographically, we can divide the different species of animals that are found in Sudan into:
Sudano-Sahclian and Sudano-Guincan Zones
Among the species that do not remain attached to a particular habitat but are generally found in the Sudano-Sahelian through Sudano-Guinean zones are the hippopotamus, elephant, warthog, hartebeest, buffalo, ostrich, lion, giraffe, leopard, spotted hyena, wild dog, cheetah, black rhinoceros, ant bear and white rhinoceros.
Addax can be found in the desert and arid zones of northern and north-western Sudan. Many of the oryx species have been seen in Sudan for the last 25 years, but it is likely that during certain seasons some of them migrate from Chad, where recent information reports their presence.
Addra gazelle and dorcas gazelle are found in the south of Sudan, east and west of the equator, as well as in the regions of Bahr El Ghazal, El Buheyral, Jonglei and Upper Nile. The highest concentration of the country's antelopes is found in the zones where they have been protected by the inaccessibility of the region. Also zebras, elano, kob and black rhinoceros inhabit these parts. The red flanked duiker remains confined in its habitat in the savanna woodlands of the southwest.
Flooded annually over an area of over 100,000 sq. km., the vast plains of the south shelter great numbers of antelopes that migrate from one area to another. The most numerous single species is the white-eared kob, numbering almost one million. During its annual migration, it joins with thousands of new arrivals from the Serenguiti-Mara ecosystem in Tanzania and Kenya. Large populations of sitatunga, Nile lechwe and buffalo inhabit the marshlands of the south, one of the most extensive swamp networks in Africa, This region hosts the lesser kudu grant gazelles and klipspringer dik dik.
Jebel Mara, a mountainous region in the extreme northwest of the grassland savanna, shelters the greater kudu gazelle. The rivers and swamps in the central and southern parts arc home to the hippopotamus and the Nile crocodile.
The dense and humid forest zone on the Congolese border, with an area of about 4,600 sq. km, shelters a high concentration of bongos, yellow backed duikers, blue duikers, sitatungas, giant forest hogs and chimpanzees. The relatively small forest-covered area of the Imatong Mountains (960 sq. km.) is inhabited by the blue duiker and weyns duiker, as well as by a species of the giant bush bucks.
The Red Sea Hills
Nubbian ibex, erin-ean gazelles and klipspringers are found in the Red Sea hills. The barbary sheep finds home in the desert hills of northern Sudan.
Sudan has six national parks covering a total area of 60.370 sq. km, and 19 game reserves with a total area of 35.500 sq. km. A total area of around 100,000 sq. km. is designated for wildlife protection.