Alcelaphus buselaphus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CETARTIODACTYLA BOVIDAE

Scientific Name: Alcelaphus buselaphus
Species Authority: (Pallas, 1766)
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Hartebeest, Swayne's Hartebeest
Taxonomic Notes: Following Gosling and Capellini (in press), and in contrast to Grubb (2005), this species is here considered to include both Red Hartebeest A. caama and Lichtenstein's Hartebeest A. lichtensteinii. A total of eight subspecies are recognized: Western Hartebeest or Kanki (A. b. major); Lelwel Hartebeest (A. b. lelwel); Tora Hartebeest (A. b. tora); Swayne's Hartebeest or Korkay (A. b. swaynei); Coke's Hartebeest or Kongoni (A. b. cokii); Lichtenstein's Hartebeest; and Red Hartebeest. The eighth and nominate subspecies, the Bubal Hartebeest A. b. buselaphus, from North Africa is now Extinct.

Intergrade populations occur between lelwel and cokii (Kenya Hartebeest, and extinct Nakura Hartebeest), and have been reported between others.

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:
East (1999) estimated numbers of all subspecies at ca. 360,000. The most numerous subspecies, Red Hartebeest (130,000) is increasing, although population trends in the other subspecies are declining. On this basis the species as a whole does not meet the criteria for threatened or Near Threatened status.
History:
1996 Lower Risk/conservation dependent (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Hartebeest formerly ranged from North Africa and the Middle East throughout the savannas and grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa and the miombo woodlands of south-central Africa down to the tip of southern Africa; they are absent only from desert and forest, notably the Sahara and the western rainforest (Gosling and Capellini in press).

In North Africa, the Bubal Hartebeest occurred in Morocco, Algeria, southern Tunisia, Libya, and parts of the Western Desert in Egypt (the precise southern limits of distribution are not known). Bubal Hartebeest are now Extinct, the last animals having been shot between 1945 and 1954 in Algeria (De Smet 1989). The last report from south-eastern Morocco was in 1945 (Panouse 1957).

The historical and current ranges of the remaining subspecies can be summarized as follows (after East 1999 and Gosling and Capellini in press):

Western Hartebeest ranged from Senegal eastwards to western Central African Republic and south-west Chad, although they have always been marginal in these last two countries. They have disappeared from much of their former range in this region, surviving mainly in and around protected areas; they no longer occur in The Gambia (though migrants may enter from Senegal).

Tora Hartebeest formerly occurred in western and southwestern Eritrea, north-western Ethiopia and the adjacent border regions of Sudan; they may survive in low numbers in the savannas of Eritrea and some inaccessible parts of Ethiopia, but are probably extinct in Sudan.

Swayne’s Hartebeest occurred throughout the Rift Valley in Ethiopia into northwest Somalia, but now survive in four isolated localities: Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary, Nechisar N.P., Awash N.P. and the newly designated Mazie N.P. (Refera 2005). They are otherwise extinct outside Ethiopia.

Lelwel Hartebeest ranged from southern Chad through Central African Republic, southern Sudan, northern and north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, south-western Ethiopia, north-west Kenya, northern Uganda and extreme north-western Tanzania. They have undergone dramatic reductions in numbers particularly in Uganda and Central African Republic, where they are now reduced to a few protected areas.

Coke’s Hartebeest occurred widely throughout southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. They have lost much of their range, but populations still occur in the Serengeti and Tarangire in Tanzania and Tsavo, and the Mara in Kenya.

Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest formerly occurred widely in the miombo woodlands of south-central Africa (probably as far south as KwaZulu-Natal), but now occur mainly in wildlife areas in Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia; they are extinct in Burundi.

Red Hartebeest occurred throughout much of southern Africa (and marginally into Angola near the Namibian border), and although much reduced by European colonists, they are now expanding their range again as they have been reintroduced into many protected areas and private game farms (and widely introduced outside their former range).
Countries:
Native:
Angola (Angola); Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Mali; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda
Regionally extinct:
Algeria; Egypt; Lesotho; Libya; Morocco; Somalia; Tunisia
Introduced:
Swaziland; Zimbabwe
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: East (1999) estimated the total populations of Hartebeest at about 362,000 animals (including Lichtenstein's). However, this total is clearly influenced by the number of surviving Red Hartebeest in southern Africa, which East (1999) estimated to number about 130,000 (with 40% on private land and 25% in protected areas). In contrast, less than 600 Swayne’s Hartebeest survive in Ethiopia, with the overwhelming majority of the population in the Senkelle sanctuary and Mazie N.P. (Refera 2005). Estimates of population size for the remaining subspecies are: 36,000 Western Hartebeest (>95% in and around protected areas); 70,000 Lelwel (about 40% in protected areas); 3,500 Kenya hartebeest (6% in protected areas and most of the rest on ranchland); 82,000 Lichtenstein's Hartebeest; and 42,000 Coke’s Hartebeest (about 70% in protected areas). The surviving number of Tora Hartebeest is unknown, but is unlikely to be more than a few hundred individuals.

The Lelwel Hartebeest may have undergone a major decline since the 1980s, when its total numbers were estimated to be >285,000, mainly in CAR and southern Sudan (East 1999). Recent survey work conducted in the dry season estimated totals of 1070 and 115 animals for Southern N. P. and Boma N.P., respectively (Fay et al. 2007); the latter is a significant decline from the more than 50,000 animals estimated in the dry season in 1980 by Fryxell (1980).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: More tolerant of woodland areas and high grass than other alcelaphines, Hartebeest prefer the edge to the middle of open plains; for example, in open areas such as the grassland of the Serengeti N.P. in Tanzania, they are typically found around the edge of woodland (Estes 1991; Gosling and Capellini in press). They have been recorded to 4,000 m on Mt Kenya (Young and Evans 1993). Almost exclusively grazers, Hartebeests feed selectively in medium-height grassland; they are less water dependant than other alcelaphines, but nonetheless dependent on the availability of surface drinking water.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Hartebeest is hunted for food and sport. The proportion of offtake from the wild and in-situ ranching is unknown.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Hartebeest have decreased markedly in numbers across their range, and their distribution has been increasingly fragmented, as a result of over-hunting for meat and the expansion of settlement and livestock. As has already occurred over much of the rest of the species’ former range, some key populations are currently decreasing because of poaching, and/or other factors such as drought and disease in some cases. In Comoé N.P., for example, numbers declined by 60% from 18,300 in 1984 to an estimated 5,200 in 1998 (Fischer and Linsenmair 2001). The distributions of most Hartebeest subspecies are likely to become increasingly fragmented until they are confined to those areas where there is effective control of poaching and encroachment by livestock and settlement.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The largest numbers of the more abundant subspecies occur in the following areas: Western Hartebeest: Niokolo-Koba (Senegal) - although this population declined by half in the 1990s alone, Comoé N. P. (Côte d’Ivoire) - although as noted this population also declined by 60% between 1984 and 1998 (Fischer and Linsenmair 2001), Nazinga and Diefoula (Burkina Faso), Mole (Ghana), Pendjari (Benin) and the national parks and hunting zones of North Province (Cameroon); Lelwel: Zakouma and eastern Salamat (Chad), Manovo-Gounda-St. Floris and Sangba (Central African Republic), Garamba (Congo-Kinshasa), Mago-Murule (Ethiopia) and Murchison Falls (Uganda); Coke’s Hartebeest: Tsavo, Masai Mara, Kajiado and coastal hinterland (Kenya) and Serengeti, Tarangire and Sadani (Tanzania); Lichtenstein's Hartebeest: Selous ecosystem, Moyowosi-Kigosi, Ugalla River, Katavi-Rukwa and Ruaha-Rungwa-Kisigo (Tanzania) and in Kafue National Park and the Luangwa Valley (Zambia); Red Hartebeest: private farmland (Namibia), central and south-western protected areas and adjoining rangelands (Botswana) and protected areas and private farmland (South Africa) (East 1999; Gosling and Capellini in press)

Swayne's Hartebeest are now confined entirely to four protected areas: Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary, Nechisar N.P., Awash N.P. and the newly designated Mazie N.P. (Refera 2005; Gosling and Capellini in press); the survival of Swayne’s in Ethiopia depends on improved protection of these remaining populations. Surveys are urgently required to determine the distribution and status of the Tora Hartebeest in areas such as western Eritrea, as a precursor to the development and implementation of protective measures.

Although Hartebeest are present in captivity, no individuals of the Swayne’s and Tora Hartebeests are held in captivity .

Bibliography [top]

De Smet, K. 1989. The distribution and habitat choice of larger mammals in Algeria, with special reference to nature protection. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Ghent.

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

Estes, R. D. 1991. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals: including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores and Primates. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California, USA.

Fay, M., Elkan, P., Marjan, M. and Grossman, F. 2007. Aerial Surveys of Wildlife, Livestock, and Human Activity in and around Existing and Proposed Protected Areas of Southern Sudan, Dry Season 2007. WCS – Southern Sudan Technical Report.

Fischer, F. and Linsenmair, K. E. 2001. Decreases in ungulate population densities. Examples from the Comoe National Park, Ivory Coast. Biological Conservation 101: 131-135.

Gosling, L. M. and Capellini, I. In press. Alcelaphus buselaphus. In: J. S. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa, Academic Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Grubb, P. 2005. Artiodactyla. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed), pp. 637-722. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.

Kowalski, K. and Rzebik-Kowalska, B. 1991. Mammals of Algeria. Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw, Poland.

Panouse, J. B. 1957. Les Mammiferes du Maroc. Travaux de l’Institut Scientifique Cherifen, Série Zoologique 5: 1-206.

Refera, B. 2005. Population status of Swayne’s hartebeest in Ethiopia. In: S. Monfort and T. Correll (eds), Report of the Fifth Annual Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group Meeting.

Young, T. P. and Evans, M. R. 1993. Alpine vertebrates of Mount Kenya, with particular notes on the rock hyrax. Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society and National Museum 82(202): 55-79.


Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group 2008. Alcelaphus buselaphus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 August 2014.
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