Gazella spekei 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Gazella spekei
Species Authority: Blyth, 1863
Common Name(s):
English *Speke's Gazelle
French Gazelle de Speke

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Heckel, J.-O., Amir, O.G., Kaariye, X.Y. & Wilhelmi, F.
Reviewer(s): Mallon, D.P. & Chardonnet, P. (Antelope Red List Authority)
The Ethiopian population is extinct or close to extinction. Numbers in Somalia have declined steeply and are continuing to decline due to uncontrolled hunting, drought and habitat degradation through overgrazing. The rate of decline is estimated to have reached 50% over a period of three generations (18 years, 1988 to 2006), due to a decline in range and/or habitat quality and actual or potential levels of exploitation.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Endemic to the Horn of Africa. Inhabits the 20 to 40 km wide grassland plain that extends along the Indian Ocean coastline of Somalia (hunting pressure has eliminated Speke's Gazelle from coastal grasslands south of 2°30'N latitude). Northern limit delimited by steep hills of the Gulis Range. Scattered groups of Speke's Gazelle were still rarely encountered in the northern Ogaden in eastern Ethiopia in the mid-1980s, but extreme hunting pressure was on the verge of eliminating the species from the Ogaden at that time. Attempts to evaluate the possible occurrence in the north-eastern Ogaden (Ethiopia) are planned, but the current security situation makes efforts to get there difficult. Interviews with local people have revealed that it is infrequent or absent from this region.

Speke's Gazelle were formerly widespread in the open barren grasslands of north-central and north-eastern Somalia and the central coastal region. It occurred widely within its historical range in the 1980s, although its numbers had been reduced greatly by hunting, drought and overgrazing of its habitat by domestic livestock. It was common on the central coastal plain in the mid-1980s (Thurow, in press).
Countries occurrence:
Possibly extinct:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:East (1999) estimated that the population may number in the tens of thousands. It was traditionally not hunted by many local people who regarded it as "the devil's livestock" but had been eliminated along roads by soldiers in areas of conflict (Thurow in press). However, numbers have been falling steadily for over 20 years due to uncontrolled hunting. The former strongholds in the Coastal and Nogaal plains of Somalia have been under severe pressure during the past two decades of civil war and there is no evidence that it still occurs in Ethiopia. A recent survey to the southern Nogaal region in Somaliland revealed that the species still exists in this area, but sightings are rather scarce.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Most common on semi-arid grasslands, but also found in dwarf shrub (e.g. Indogofera intricata) and barren rangelands, at altitudes below 2,500 m. The presence of a biting tabanid fly (Haematopota sp.) during the mid-growing season prompts movements to the coast or large inland sand dunes where the breeze disperses the flies. They also move to these areas in the late dormant season because the sparse vegetation stays green longer on these sites, possibly because the roots access soil moisture stored deeper in the dunes (Thurow, in press).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Extreme political instability and periodic civil and military conflicts over the past 20 years (and continuing) in Somalia, combined with a lack of any central government control, has resulted in a prevalence of weapons, over-exploitation of wildlife, and lack of protection for wildlife. There are no functioning protected areas within its range. An illegal wildlife trade, including in antelopes, has developed in Somalia during the last few years (Amir 2006).

Drought and overgrazing due to increasing numbers of domestic livestock have negatively affected habitat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no functioning protected areas or active field conservation programmes within its range. Its conservation status is therefore likely to decline further unless effective protection and management or representative populations and their habitat can be developed and implemented. Populations of Speke's Gazelle are maintained in captivity.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.2. Droughts
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

Bibliography [top]

Amir, G. A. 2006. Wildlife trade in Somalia. Report to the IUCN/SSC Antelope Specialist Group – Northeast African subgroup. IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group - Northeast African Subgroup.

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (comps and eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

East, R. (Compiler). 1999. African Antelope Database 1998. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Groombridge, B. (ed.). 1994. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 1990. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1986. 1986 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1988. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Thurow, T.L. 2013. Gazella spekei Speke's Gazelle. In: J. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa. VI. Pigs, Hippopotamuses, Chevrotain, Giraffes, Deer, and Bovids, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, UK.

Wilhelmi, F., Kaariye, X.Y., Hammer, S., Hammer, C. and Heckel, J.-O. 2006. On the status of wild ungulates in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. Proceedings of the Sahara-Sahelo Interest Group Meeting 2006, Douz, Tunisia.. Douz, Tunisia.

Citation: Heckel, J.-O., Amir, O.G., Kaariye, X.Y. & Wilhelmi, F. 2008. Gazella spekei. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T8975A12944411. . Downloaded on 28 August 2016.
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