Fauna Study
Mammals analysis of the Lake Burullus

December 2001

par Web Team

Lake Burullus is located along the Mediteranean coast, between the two branches of the Nile. The lake is about 56 km in length and varies in width from 6 to 16 km. It is connected to the sea through a 50m. wide outlet near the village of Burg El-Burullus. The depth of the lake varies between 0.5 to 1.6 m, with the eastern part being the shallowest (Meininger and Mullie, 1981). The land bar that separates the lake from the sea varies in width from a few hundred meters to about 7 km and is mostly covered with sand dunes (Abu Al-Izz, 1971). There are more than 30 islands in the lake covering a total area of 1196 ha. To the south of this, extensive areas of saltmarshes are found. These extensive marshes are described as "the most virginal community of the Nile Delta" (Goodman et al., 1989)

The coastal land to the east of the exit of lake is covered by sand dunes that extend for about 15 km east of the outlet. The strip of land to the west of this outlet has no sand dunes comparable to those on the east. This pattern is repeated at the sites of all the several branches of the Nile that emptied directly into the Mediterranean until the ninth century. The sand was obviously brought to the shore-line with the Nile sediments discharged at the mouth (Zahran, 1992).

The first modern treatment of the Egyptian mammalian fauna was Anderson’s (1902). Numerous papers were published which dealt with local collections and descriptions of new forms, and these were summarized by Flower (1932) . Numerous publications followed including those by Innes (1932), Wassif (1944; 1949; 1953 a; b; 1954; 1956; 1960 a; b; 1962), Setzer (1952; 1957; 1958 a; b; 1961 a; b). Wassif and Hoogstraal (1953) and Sanborn and Hoogstraal (1955) were dealing mostly with distributions and taxonomically aspects of the Egyptian mammalian fauna, provided valuable information on the habitats of these animals. Hoogstraal (1962; 1963; 1964) reviewed the literature on Egyptian mammals since Flower’s paper (1932). Osborn and Helmy (1980) wrote the most yet comprehensive monograph on the land mammals of Egypt that also included considerable ecological data on many of the species covered.

This report presents the results of a field survey of the mammals of Lake Burullus in northern Nile Delta. The survey aimed to study the diversity of the mammalian fauna of this area and gather information on their ecology and distribution. The study also covers other species that have not been collected during this survey but are known or expected to occur in the area. Detailed description of each species and its habitats, along with other information that may in its field identification are also included. The status of each species in Egypt is also included using the standard IUCN categories (ANNEX I) and based on threatened species lists prepared by Saleh (1993, 2000). Status of species that are not covered in these lists are assessed on the basis of available data and according to IUCN criteria (ANNEX II).

Web Team

-  Report edited by DR. MOHAMMAD IBRAHIM BASUONY, Associate Professor of Desert Ecology, Faculty of Science, Al-Azhar University