Northern Africa is rather poor in national parks and nature reserves in comparison with equatorial and southern Africa. The remaining populations of nomadic ungulates in the Saharan region are difficult to protect within the boundaries of national parks, if only because they are nomadic and move over great areas in an irregular pattern owing basically to the erratic rainfall. It ought, however, to be a conservation priority for many countries of northern Africa to make an effort to conserve desert and subdesert antelopes of various species before it is too late, because these animals are so productive and thrive in areas with meagre vegetation and no surface water for long periods. They are an excellent renewable resource of the deserts!
In northern Africa only a fraction of the former herds of wild ungulates still survive in declining numbers, whereas in southern Africa a semi-desert country such as Botswana still harbours important herds of many herbivorous species. But also in Botswana their numbers are declining drastically in comparison with the situation only about fifteen years ago, though, fortunately, several large reserves have been established in that country during recent years. This is also the case in most other countries of southern Africa.
Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands also share similar conservation problems with continental Africa, but in these areas with a high proportion of endemic plants and animals the human overexploitation tends to have more serious and immediate effects on the biota than is the case on the African mainland.
The present conservation needs of Africa include more national parks and other protected areas. These are of fundamental importance for environmental conservation, being in effect in many regions the only major areas where the environment of today and even of the past may be preserved.