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Detail of a village near Tahoua, Niger (14°50’ N, 5°16’ E). Dromedary caravans near Fachi, Ténéré desert, Niger (18°14’ N, 11°40’ E).Minaret of the Great Mosque of Agadez, Niger (16°58’ N, 7°59’ E).
The crab claw of Arakaou, Ténéré Desert, Niger (18°96’ N, 9°57’ E).Village near Tahoua, Niger (14°54’ N, 5°16’ E). Waste from the Arlit uranium mine, Aïr Mountains, Niger (19°00’ N, 7°38’ E).

Dromedary caravans near Fachi, Ténéré desert, Niger (18°14’ N, 11°40’ E).

For decades, the Tuareg have traveled the 380 mi (612 km) between the city of Agadez and the saltworks in Bilma with their caravans, practicing the traditional trade of salt. Camels move in convoy, covering 25 mi (40 km) a day despite temperatures of up to 114.8°F (46°C) in the shade and loads of nearly 220 lbs (100 kg) per animal. On the Azalaï (salt caravans) trail, Fachi, the only significant town, is an indispensable stop. The caravans, which once included more than 20,000 animals, rarely exceed 100 camels today; they are gradually being supplanted by trucks. The drop in caravans and camel breeding; the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s, which had a severe impact on livestock numbers; plus the conflicts of the 1990s have heralded the gradual resettling of the Tuareg people. The Aïr and Ténéré reserves—an exceptional collection of landscapes, plant species (more than 350 species), and wild animals (at least 40 species of mammals)—where the majority of Tuareg live are seriously threatened by smuggling and overexploitation.

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