Nesotragus moschatus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Nesotragus moschatus
Species Authority: Von Dueben, 1846
Common Name(s):
English Suni
Neotragus moschatus (Von Dueben, 1846)
Taxonomic Notes: Included in the genus Neotragus, along with the Royal Antelope Neotragus batesi, and Bates' Pygmy Antelope N. pygmaeus, by a number of authors (Ansell 1972; Grubb 2005). Here included in the monotypic Nesotragus following Ellerman et al. (1953) and Kingdon (in press).

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)
Listed as Least Concern as the total population is estimated at c. 365,000, and the population is considered stable over large parts of its range. The Suni’s presence in protected areas, its ability to adapt to secondary vegetation and its resilience to hunting should enable it to persist in satisfactory numbers within substantial parts of its current range for the foreseeable future.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/conservation dependent (LR/cd)
1988 Endangered (E)
1986 Endangered (E)
1965 Status inadequately known-survey required or data sought

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Suni formerly occurred widely in forests and thickets in coastal regions and the hinterland from Kenya to KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. In Kenya, it occurs about as far north as Mt Kenya and the Aberdares, and, along the coast, as far north as the lower Tana R.; their southerly limit of distribution is around L. St Lucia in NE KwaZulu-Natal (c. 28°S) (Kingdon and Hoffmann in press). They probably also occur in Swaziland, although their occurrence is not confirmed (Monadjem 1998). There are no confirmed records from Zambia. Recorded from Zanzibar and some adjacent islands (Mafia and Chapani, the type locality), but not Pemba (Kingdon and Hoffmann in press).
Countries occurrence:
Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; South Africa; Tanzania, United Republic of; Zimbabwe
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species occurs at relatively high population densities in areas where it is common, e.g., ground surveys have revealed densities of 13.0-17.0/km² in areas such as Zanzibar Island and Lengwe National Park; it occurs at lower densities in South Africa, e.g., 0.9/km² in Mkuzi Game Reserve (various authors in East 1999).

East (1999) produced a total population estimate of 365,000 (East 1999). The population trend is probably stable over large parts of its range, but decreasing in settled areas where hunting pressures are very high and in some protected areas with an overpopulation of nyala.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: An inhabitant of coastal forests and thickets, dry deciduous thickets, montane forests to 2,700 m and other areas with thick undergrowth. In some areas it probably benefits from the expansion of secondary thicket habitat which has resulted from human activity (e.g. on Zanzibar), and it readily colonises degraded forests.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This is a very resilient species which generally withstands moderately high hunting pressure, although overhunting has probably reduced its numbers over much of its range in Kenya, and localized overhunting causes low densities in areas such as the immediate vicinity of villages. Loss of habitat to the expansion of agriculture and settlement and hunting by poachers and uncontrolled dogs have eliminated the Suni from much of its former range in South Africa where it is now a rare species. It is also threatened by reduction of shrub cover caused by increasing numbers of nyala (Tragelaphus angasii) in some protected areas and private game farms.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Important protected populations occur in areas such as Aberdares N.P. and Mount Kenya N. P. (Kenya), Udzungwa N.P. and Selous G. R. (Tanzania), Lengwe N. P. (Malawi), Maputo G. R. (Mozambique) and Tembe N. P., Mkuzi G. R. and Ndumu G. R. (South Africa).

In 1995, a total of 39 captive-bred suni were released in an area of dense bush in north-eastern Kruger National Park which is believed to comprise suitable habitat, but by early 1998 there was no evidence that this reintroduction had been successful (East 1999).

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2008. Nesotragus moschatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T14604A4449389. . Downloaded on 28 May 2016.
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