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The Acacus Mountains: An Ancient Civilization Teetering on the Brink of Extinction

By: April Carson

The Acacus mountains are facing vandalism, endangering a prehistoric civilization in Southern Libya. This ancient site, adorned with captivating rock art and engravings, has long been a magnet for tourists. However, after enduring countless epochs, it now stands unprotected and vulnerable.

Foreign visitors, mainly from Europe and North America, have caused extensive damage to the area. Not only have they vandalized some of the rock art with their etchings and graffiti, but also broken off pieces as souvenirs or sold them on the black market for profit.

The Acacus Mountains, locally referred to as Tadrart Akakus, grace the Fezzan region in southwestern Libya, nestled within the vast expanse of the Sahara Desert. With awe-inspiring beauty, this rugged landscape captivates the senses and beckons exploration.

They have gained renown for their extensive collection of cave paintings and sculptures adorning walls, mountains, and rocks. These artistic masterpieces depict a variety of animals, including majestic giraffes, majestic elephants, and graceful ostriches. Additionally, they offer glimpses into ancient human life, illustrating scenes of people and horses in their daily activities.

Across the ages, the walls of Acacus stood as a sacred site, revered by countless generations. However, as tourist activity surged in the latter half of the twentieth century, destructive acts of vandalism also began to plague the area. An unchecked influx of visitors has caused irreversible damage to the site, with certain paintings and sculptures being completely erased.

In 2008, a driver employed by a tourism company was dismissed after a disagreement with an Italian woman who was the owner of the company. In an act of revenge, the driver returned and defaced 125 panels by spray painting them. He was caught and charged with a fine, yet the irreparable damage could never be undone.

In an attempt to create a lasting legacy, certain vandals went beyond the conventional and engraved their names on 5,000-year-old panels belonging to the Acacus civilization. They believed that by doing so, they would be remembered by future generations, just as they remember the great civilizations of the past.

Engaging in the tampering of antiquities is widely regarded as a criminal offense. By Libyan Law No.10 of 1983 for the Protection of Antiquities, any action leading to the destruction or harm of antiquities or historical sites is strictly prohibited and punishable by law. Perpetrators of this crime may face severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

In the realm of tourism, a passionate group of enthusiasts and activists are fervently advocating for the implementation of more stringent laws and severe penalties to discourage the violation of antiquities. They aim to deter potential offenders and safeguard these historical treasures for generations to come.

In light of this crisis, it is our responsibility to assume the role of guardians for our shared history. We must acknowledge the significance of honoring ancient sites and halt any further harm that may befall them. The time has come for us to take decisive action and safeguard these timeless monuments for future generations to cherish.

The Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture share overlapping responsibilities and hierarchies, leading to the exacerbation of difficulties and problems from both security and administrative perspectives. As such, the two ministries must join forces and create a unified strategy to protect this ancient site.

Bashir expressed concern over the suspension of exploratory trips for more than a decade. He highlighted the scarcity of studies, research facilities, and tourism development centers in the country, particularly in the southern region. This lack of support hinders the potential for tourism growth and development in this specific area.

To restore the lost glory of the Acacus Mountains, it is essential to improve security in the region and implement a set of regulations that protect the site from vandalism. This must be accompanied by increased funding and support for archaeological projects aimed at uncovering its secrets and disseminating this knowledge within Libya and beyond.

Khaled Abdul Salam, a teacher from Al-'Awaynat, also held the responsible authorities accountable, emphasizing the need for them to furnish the tourist police with state-of-the-art equipment, devices, and well-trained personnel. This is especially crucial considering that the area is an open-air museum nestled in the heart of the desert, necessitating heightened security measures.

Andalan Amghar Al-Hamdani stands as a desert sentinel, entrusted with safeguarding the treasures of a prehistoric civilization. He is one of many individuals fighting tirelessly to protect these ancient wonders from those who would do them harm.

In the depths of the Libyan desert, a man and his children reside near the majestic arch of Avaazagar. Their noble duty is to stand against those who would steal or deface the valuable relics hidden within the mountains.

They regard this location, together with the Tuareg indigenous people, as the ancestral homeland, and they worry that if they were to depart, others might occupy it and potentially damage these precious engraved archaeological symbols.

Their determination to safeguard the Acacus Mountains paints a clear picture of the importance of protecting our past and preserving our shared history. This is why we must take it upon ourselves to protect these priceless monuments for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.

It is our moral obligation to ensure that these ancient wonders remain unscathed and unaltered, so that current and future generations may enjoy them in their full glory.

The Akakus Mountains are under threat from illegal hunting and oil companies. These companies have shown a disregard for environmental preservation and the safety of the local population in the southern Libyan desert. Unfortunately, the citizens have not benefited from their presence in the area.

The ongoing destruction of the environment, manipulation of the landscape, and disregard for its centuries-old historical heritage persist without restraint. A pressing issue that further exacerbates the situation is the widespread illegal hunting driven by avaricious individuals.

The combination of oil exploration activities and illegal hunting has led to a tremendous loss of wildlife, particularly gazelle. Illegal hunters have been observed killing even the smallest animals in pursuit of their insidious goals.

Spanning an impressive 3,923.961 hectares, this majestic mountain range is a haven for a diverse wildlife population. Here, rare species like Barbary sheep and deer have thrived for thousands of years. However, these precious animals now face the threat of extinction and deliberate hunting, as relentless shots ring out, causing harm to the caves and mountains they call home.

The Acacus Mountains are a living reminder of the civilizations that preceded us. We must take responsibility for protecting its irreplaceable heritage and ensuring that it is preserved for generations to come.

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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on

To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav



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