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Neotragus pygmaeus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CETARTIODACTYLA BOVIDAE

Scientific Name: Neotragus pygmaeus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Royal Antelope

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Mallon, D.P. (Antelope Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern as the total population is estimated at ~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 overall population trend 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 meets a threshold qualifying for Near Threatened. Its survival will probably become increasingly dependent on effective protection in protected areas.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Royal Antelopes ranges from south-western Guinea (the Kounounkan Massif perhaps representing the westerly known limit), Sierra Leone, Liberia, south-eastern Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, to the Volta R., Ghana (Kingdon and Hoffmann in press). Records from the forests east of the Volta River in north-east Ghana remain questionable (Grubb et al. 1998). Fischer et al. (2002) reported what they considered to be reliable observations of the tracks of Royal Antelopes in Comoé N. P. in north-east Côte d’Ivoire.
Countries:
Native:
Côte d'Ivoire; Ghana; Guinea; Liberia; Sierra Leone
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, perhaps a significant underestimate. Population trend is difficult to assess, but is apparently stable at least in some protected areas. Overall population trend is probably decreasing as human populations and associated pressures on natural habitats and wildlife continue to grow over most of its range (East 1999).
Population Trend: Decreasing

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 habitats, forest edges and other areas with dense undergrowth; its range extends into forest-savanna mosaic to the north of the main forest block in West Africa. 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).
Systems: Terrestrial

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).

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 protection against poaching, logging and agricultural encroachment. Its survival will probably become increasingly dependent on effective protection in protected areas such as Tai National Park in Côte d’Ivoire and the forest parks in Ghana.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group 2008. Neotragus pygmaeus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 August 2014.
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