Mauritania is a desert country par excellence (about 80 to 85% of the territory is arid land). The country is subdivided into 4 large ecological zones, each with its own potential and wildlife wealth. It is absolutely wrong to believe that the desert is a sterile environment and poor in living beings. The law of nature means that at the level of each environment, whatever its mediocrity, it constitutes a biotope and a favorable habitat for a set of living beings (animals and plants) acclimatized and resigned. In time, Mauritania was a country rich enough in large fauna but over time and under the combined effect of drought and anthropogenic pressure, apart from avifauna (birds), Mauritania no longer counts a fauna in the true sense of the word.

The disappearance of wildlife in Mauritania has gone through two distinct periods. A geological period during which the large fauna, represented in the Saharan rock paintings, 8000 years ago, were withdrawn into the current Sahel following the advance of the desert. Another accelerated historical period since the beginning of the century where fauna adapted to the conditions of the environment was destroyed and replaced by cattle.

The disappearance of fauna is only one impact of the general degradation of natural resources. Among the causes of this degradation, we cite among others:

1. the effect of desertification on wildlife through the disappearance of the natural habitats necessary for survival.
2. the clearing of forests in the Senegal River valley for crops, which led to the disappearance of the Cobs, Monkeys and Birds that depended on them.
3. the clearing of several Tamourts in the Southeast which served as refuges for wildlife during dry years for the installation of flood recession crops.
4. Most of the gallery forests that remain around the sources in the Trab el Hajra and served as refuges in the dry season for wild animals have been destroyed for the production of firewood, poles or stakes for construction. 

However, the disappearance of the fauna preceded that of its habitats. The direct and determining cause was hunting and not desertification or drought. This last manifestation of great historical variation in the climate has affected numbers by reducing births, increasing mortality or even modifying certain distribution areas, but there is nothing to conclude that it was the cause. observed disappearances.