A serval photographed in the Middle Atlas

A serval (Leptailurus serval) was sighted and photographed in the Middle Atlas in April 2014. This is reportedly the first photo of this animal in the wild in Morocco. The observation was made by an amateur hiker named Salim Meghni reported the website Ecologie.ma

The isolated North African population still survives in Morocco but extremely rare, possibly extinct in Algeria and extinct in Tunisia. In the latter country, they introduced/reintroduced the species from East African stock.

The secretive behaviour of the animal makes it difficult to see in an region where it is already rare such as North Africa. Probably it's for this reason why there is such a paucity of data about this species in this region. For instance, Cuzin (2003) summarised only 5 observations in the period 1986-2000, all of them from Lower Draa and adjacent areas. For the period 1900-1971, the author found only 2 sightings (map below from Cuzin 2003).

Serval (Leptailurus serval), Middle Atlas, April 2014. (photo: Salim Meghni/Ecologie.ma)

Cuzin, F. (2003). Les grands mammifères du Maroc méridional (Haut Atlas, Anti Atlas et Sahara). Thèse de Doctorat, Université Montpellier II.
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