Hippotragus equinus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CETARTIODACTYLA BOVIDAE

Scientific Name: Hippotragus equinus
Species Authority: (É. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1803)
Common Name(s):
English Roan Antelope
French Antilope rouane, Antilope chevaline, Hippotrague
Taxonomic Notes: Six subspecies have been described, but the validity of most of these is still in doubt, and recent genetic studies have shown that only the western African subspecies (koba) constitutes a genetically separate group from those in the rest of Africa (Alpers et al. 2004).

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:
Distribution remains widespread and total numbers were estimated to be 76,000, with 60% in protected areas. About one-third of the total population was estimated to stable or increasing, with the rest declining. As yet, the evidence does not indicate that these declines have reached a level that would qualify for Near Threatened or Vulnerable. However, if present trends continue, the Roan Antelope’s status may eventually decline to threatened as it disappears from large parts of its current range because of poaching and loss of habitat to the expansion of settlement. This trend will only be reversed if more of the surviving populations receive adequate protection and management.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Roan Antelope formerly occurred very widely in the savanna woodlands and grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa, but has been eliminated from large parts of its former range. Remarkably, the species remains locally common in West and Central Africa, while in East and southern Africa, the traditional antelope strongholds, the species is now very rare. The species is now locally extinct in Burundi, Eritrea and possibly Gambia. It was also eliminated from Swaziland and later reintroduced to the privately owned Mkhaya Nature Reserve (East 1999; Chardonnet and Crosmary in press).
Countries:
Native:
Angola (Angola); Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Ethiopia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Possibly extinct:
Gambia
Regionally extinct:
Burundi; Eritrea
Reintroduced:
Swaziland
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Citing various authors East (1999) indicates that summation of the available population estimates suggests a total population of about 40,000 Roan, but this does not allow for undercounting bias in aerial surveys or the extensive areas of the species’ current distribution for which estimates are unavailable. Accounting for these biases, East (1999) gives an estimated total population of 76,000, with the largest populations in Burkina Faso (>7,370), Cameroon (>6,070), Zambia (>5,080) and Tanzania (>4,310). However, large numbers are also believed to survive in southern Sudan. Despite the fact that Roan are generally common in West and Central Africa, some populations are in decline, such as that in Comoé N.P. where numbers have declined by about 70% between 1978 and 1998 to around 500 animals (Fischer and Linsenmair 2001).

Density estimates are summarized by East (1999) and Chardonnet and Crosmary (in press). Overall population trend is generally stable or decreasing in protected areas and decreasing elsewhere, apart from the small numbers on private land in southern Africa which are increasing.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Savannah woodlands and grasslands, and the bushveld and lowveld of southern Africa, with the cover of high grasses and woody plants playing an important role for both grazing and calving (Chardonnet and Crosmary in press). A water-dependent grazer/browser.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Roan Antelope has been eliminated from large parts of its former range because of poaching and loss of habitat to the expansion of settlement, and now survives mainly in and around protected areas and in other areas with low densities of people and livestock. Its persistence in West Africa is probably due to its ability to withstand illegal hunting pressures better than many other large herbivores, especially the more water dependant and more sedentary species which are more exposed to poaching (East 1999; Chardonnet and Crosmary in press).

Different explanations have been provided for the decline of Roan and its lack of subsequent recovery in the Kruger N.P. in South Africa (450 animals in 1986 to around 30 in 2001; Harrington et al. 1999; Grant et al. 2002). The most likely reason is increased predation pressure following the influx of grazers from artificial waterpoints (Knoop and Owen-Smith 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: At present, about one-third of the species’ total population occurs in protected areas. The largest surviving populations occur in areas such as Niokolo-Koba (Senegal), Comoe (Côte d'Ivoire), Arly-Singou and Nazinga (Burkina Faso), Mole (Ghana), Pendjari (Benin), Waza National Park and the national parks and hunting zones of North Province (Cameroon), Manovo-Gounda-St. Floris (Central African Republic), Moyowosi-Kigosi and Katavi-Rukwa (Tanzania), the Luangwa Valley (Zambia), Nyika National Park (Malawi) and northern Botswana. Most of these populations are stable or increasing but some, e.g., in Comoe, Arly-Singou and Cameroon’s North Province, are in decline.

Bibliography [top]

Alpers, D. L., Van Vuuren, B. J., Arctander, P. and Robinson, T. J. 2004. Population genetics of the roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus) with suggestions for conservation. Molecular Ecology 13: 1771-1784.

Chardonnet, P. and Crosmary, W. In press. Hippotragus equinus. In: J. S. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa, Academic Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

East, R. 1999. African Antelope Database 1999. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Grant, C. C., Davidson, T., Funston, P. J. and Pienaar, D. J. 2002. Challenges faced in the conservation of rare antelope: a case study on the northern basalt plains of the Kruger National Park. Koedoe 45: 45–66.

Harrington, R., Owen-Smith, N., Viljoen, P. C., Biggs, H. C., Mason, D. R. and Funston, P. J. 1999. Establishing the causes of the roan antelope decline in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Biological Conservation 90(1): 69-78.

Knoop, M.-C. and Owen-Smith, N. 2006. Foraging ecology of roan antelope: key resources during critical periods. African Journal of Ecology 44: 228-236.


Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group 2008. Hippotragus equinus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 September 2014.
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