Neotragus pygmaeus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Neotragus pygmaeus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Royal Antelope
French Antilope royale
Taxonomic Notes: Monotypic.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-01-07
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Hoffmann, M. & Mallon, D.
The total population is estimated at ca. 62,000 (likely an underestimate), and their secretive nature and ability to utilize secondary vegetation and to persist in small forest fragments should enable it to persist in substantial numbers despite the high-density, increasing human populations over large parts of its range. The species is probably decreasing as human populations and associated pressures on natural habitats and wildlife continue to grow over most of its range, but there is no evidence so far that rate of decline overall is close to meeting a threshold for threatened status and it is confirmed Least Concern. Its survival will probably become increasingly dependent on effective protection in protected areas.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Endemic to the Upper Guinea Forest. The Royal Antelope ranges from south-western Guinea (the Kounounkan Massif perhaps representing the westerly known limit), south-eastern Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, and up to the Volta River in Ghana (Kingdon and Hoffmann 2013). Records from the forests east of the Volta River in north-eastern Ghana remain questionable (Grubb et al. 1998).
Countries occurrence:
Côte d'Ivoire; Ghana; Guinea; Liberia; Sierra Leone
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Reported to be locally abundant, East (1999) produced a total population estimate of 62,000, based on extrapolated densities of 0.2-2.0/km2. but acknowledged this may be a significant underestimate. Population trend is difficult to assess, but is apparently stable at least in some protected areas. Overall it is probably decreasing as human populations and associated pressures on natural habitats and wildlife continue to grow over most of its range (East 1999).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The world’s smallest antelope species is nocturnal, timid and very secretive. It occupies moist lowland forest and secondary vegetation, forest edges and other areas with dense undergrowth its range extends along gallery forest into the forest-savanna mosaic north of the main forest block (Kingdon and Hoffmann 2013). The Royal Antelope is often encountered more in logged forest with some undergrowth than in primary forest and it is frequently encountered in farm bush (it often persists in farming areas, despite heavy hunting pressure) (Kingdon and Hoffmann 2013).
Generation Length (years):4.3

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: For information on use and trade, see under Threats.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Major threats are difficult to establish, but they are certainly at risk from bushmeat hunting. However, human attitudes towards this species vary in different parts of its range. For example, in Sierra Leone it is rarely shot, but is occasionally caught in snares set for duikers. In Liberia, where it is regarded as the epitome of cunning by rural people, there are widespread taboos on the hunting or consumption of the Royal Antelope among the country’s clans and ethnic groups. In contrast, in Côte d'Ivoire, it forms a significant component of bushmeat (East 1999) and in Kumasi, Ghana an annual sale of 1,200 carcasses of Royal Antelope was recorded (Wilson 2001).

Although affected by habitat destruction it can persist in relatively small forest patches within agriculturally developed areas.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is well represented in several protected areas, but only a few of the protected areas in which it occurs receive any effective protection against poaching, logging and agricultural encroachment. Its survival will probably become increasingly dependent on effective protection in protected areas such as Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire and the forest parks in Ghana.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2016. Neotragus pygmaeus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T14602A50190835. . Downloaded on 20 June 2018.
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