Damaliscus lunatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Damaliscus lunatus (Burchell, 1824)
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Topi, Tiang, Tsessebe
French Damalisque, Korrigum, Sassaby, Topi
Taxonomic Notes: Five subspecies are usually recognized: Korrigum (D. l. korrigum); Tiang (D. l. tiang); Coastal Topi (D. l. topi); Topi (D. l. jimela); and Tsessebe (D. l. lunatus). The last named form exhibits obvious differences from the other subspecies, with the result that this species is sometimes split into two, most recently by Grubb (2005). Cotterill (2003) recognized tsessebes in northeastern Zambia in the southern Bangweulu Flats as a new species, Damaliscus superstes based on differences in cranial morphology and pelage, and proposed considering animals from south-central Africa (south of, and including, Angola, Zambia and southern DR Congo) as D. lunatus (with the exception of D. superstes), and all other populations from East Africa and the remainder of the range provisionally as D. korrigum (followed by Grubb 2005). The current treatment provisionally follows Duncan (2013).

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.
This species remains widespread across sub-Saharan Africa, but has undergone substantial declines during the last 100 years and is threatened by hunting for meat and competition with cattle. Total population size has been estimated at about 300,000. About 25% of these occurred in areas with reasonably good protection and management. However, WCS surveys in southern Sudan indicate that this estimate should be increased by about 100,000. Most remaining populations are known or believed to be declining. However there is no evidence at present to show that the decline overall has reached the 20-25% level over three generations (18 years) that would justify Near Threatened status, but if declines continue it is only a matter of time before one of this threshold or a higher one is reached.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Topi (Damaliscus lunatus) formerly occurred widely on floodplains and other grasslands in sub-Saharan Africa. It was one of the most numerous large antelope species in Africa, but has been eliminated from much of its former range. Various populations have become very rare and it has disappeared from Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, The Gambia, and Burundi. The ranges of the subspecies are as follows (following East 1999, Duncan 2013):

Korrigum formerly occurred from southern Mauritania and Senegal to western Chad, but has undergone a dramatic decline since the early 1900s because of displacement by cattle and uncontrolled hunting for meat. The species no longer occurs in Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, or The Gambia, and probably no longer occurs in Nigeria or western Chad, except as vagrants.

Tiang occur throughout southern Chad, northern Central African Republic, and Sudan to south-western Ethiopia and extreme north-western Kenya.

Coastal Topi formerly occurred in southern Somalia in riverine grasslands on the lower Shebelle and Juba Rivers and in Kenya in Lamu, Garissa and Tana River districts. Their range is unchanged in Kenya, although there is no recent information available from Somalia.

Topi occur in south-west Kenya, northwest and western Tanzania, east and south-western Uganda and north-eastern Rwanda. Topi are now extinct in Burundi.

Bangweulu Tsessebe are present in the Bangweulu Flats of northeastern Zambia, but are now extinct in the Katanga Pedicle of DR Congo.

Tsessebe remain present in a number of populations in southern Africa, but became extinct in Mozambique around the late 1970s or early 1980s. They have been reintroduced in Swaziland, after the indigenous population was exterminated.
Countries occurrence:
Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Ethiopia; Ghana; Kenya; Namibia; Niger; Rwanda; South Africa; South Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Possibly extinct:
Regionally extinct:
Burundi; Gambia; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Senegal
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:East (1999) gave total population estimates of 30,000 Tsessebe, 93,000 Topi, 100,000 Coastal Topi, 75,000 Tiang and 3,000 Korrigum, and a species total of about 300,000. Based on the figures available in Appendix 4 in East (1999), numbers of Bangweulu Tsessebe were in the order of 3,500. Chardonnet (2004) revised the estimate of the global population of Korrigum to 1,850-2,650 (including 800 in W-Arly-Pendjari and 800-1,600 in Waza N.P.), and estimated the number of Tiang in Central Africa at 3,200.

East's (1999) total for Tiang included an estimated 50,000 Tiang in South Sudan, which he acknowledged could be a gross underestimate of the actual population. Recent aerial surveys carried out by WCS in the early dry season in 2007 indicate a population exceeding 155,000 (probably an underestimate) in the Jonglei area and a generally favourable conservation situation (although numbers in Boma National Park had declined). These estimates are lower than those reported for the late dry season in 1980 (by about half), but slightly larger than those recorded in the early dry season in the same year (see Mefit-Babtie 1983). Population trends are increasing for the Tsessebe (especially on private land) and Bangweulu Tseseebe, but decreasing for most of the other subspecies.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Generally an inhabitant of floodplains and other grasslands in sub-Saharan Africa. The species moved seasonally between the Sahel grasslands, savannas and the floodplains of the inner Niger Delta. In Sudan, the Tiang was widespread in savannah and floodplain grasslands, but also occurred in much lower numbers in the woodlands of the south-west. In Somalia, the Coastal Topi formerly occurred locally in the south, in riverine grasslands on the lower Shebelle and Juba Rivers and in the Lake Badana area. In South Africa, the Tsessebe formerly occurred in the bushveld and lowveld; currently, it occurs mainly on the basalt plains of northern Kruger National Park. Tsessebe do not occur in forests, arid or montane habitats (above 1,500 m) (East 1999, Duncan 2013). Nearly exclusively grazers, they can go for months without drinking in the dry season if they are feeding on growing grass (Duncan 2013).
Generation Length (years):6.1

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted for food and for sport (specimen collecting).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): While the species is still numerous and widespread, it has been eliminated from large areas of its former range by hunting, and habitat degradation associated with the encroachment/expansion of cattle. These threats have been most marked on the West African Korrigum; of the 12 countries in which they formerly occurred, they are now extirpated from four, and probably only occur as vagrants in three.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Around 98% of remaining Korrigum occur in and around protected areas, primarily in the W-Arly-Pendjari complex (Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin) and in Waza and Benoue in northern Cameroon (East 1999; Duncan 2013).

About one-quarter of Tiang occur in protected areas, including: Zakouma N.P. (the largest population in central Africa at ca 1,300) and Salamat Faunal Reserve and Aouk hunting areas (Chad), Manovo-Gounda-St Floris N.P. (CAR), Dinder N.P. (Sudan), Omo N.P. and Mago N.P. (Ethiopia) and Sibiloi N.P. (Kenya) (East 1999, Duncan 2013). There is no information on their status in Dinder N.P., where they may now number no more than a few dozen individuals (Chardonnet 2004).

Coastal Topi occur mainly outside protected areas, although they are present in Boni and Dodori National Reserves (East 1999).

More than 90% of Topi occur in protected areas, in particular Virunga N.P. (DR Congo), Queen Elizabeth N.P. (Uganda), Akagera N.P. (Rwanda), Mara (Kenya) and Serengeti N.P. (Tanzania). However, the populations in QENP and the Virungas have been declining (East 1999). The population in Akagera, the last effective stronghold for Topi in Rwanda, declined from around 7,500 in 1990 to an estimated 2,000 in 1997-1998; following the reduction in size of the park in 1997, only an estimated 770 animals survive in the new Akagera N.P. (Williams and Ntayombya 1999).

The Bangweulu Tsessebe occurs in Bangweulu, and has been translocated to a number of private game ranches in Zambia (Cotterill 2003). The latter author called for the translocation of a population to Kasanka N.P.

Tsessebe are well represented in both protected areas (40%) and on private land (20%), with strongholds in Okavango and Chobe N.P. (Botswana) and Kruger N.P. (South Africa). However, the population in Kruger N.P., among the best-protected areas on the continent, declined to about 220 individuals in 1996 (Dunham et al. 2005).

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2016. Damaliscus lunatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T6235A50185422. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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