Ammodorcas clarkei 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Ammodorcas clarkei (Thomas, 1891)
Common Name(s):
English Dibatag, Clarke's Gazelle
French Gazelle de Clarke

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-04-17
Assessor(s): Heckel, J., Wilhelmi, F., Kaariye, X. & Amir, O.
Reviewer(s): Hoffmann, M.
Dibatag has disappeared from substantial parts of its former range (e.g., parts of northern Ogaden, and northern Somalia) and it is under heavy pressure in other parts of its range. There are now estimated to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals and the species is estimated to be declining by at least 10% in three generations (14 years) due to poaching, habitat degradation and drought. Data are very poor, but the latest estimates suggest that there are ca 4,000 individuals (2,800 mature individuals) in the Central Ogaden (Wilhelmi 2013) plus an unknown number in Somalia. It is possible that the species is close to meeting the population threshold for Endangered, but the above figure is likely an underestimate and there is no evidence to show a decline of 20% over the last 9 years (two generations). More accurate information on status may indicate than an uplist is warranted.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Ammodorcas clarkei (Dibatag) is endemic to the Ogaden region of south-east Ethiopia, and northern and central Somalia. In Ethiopia, Dibatag formerly occurred widely in the vast plains of the Ogaden but an extensive ground survey revealed that the species was now rare or absent in the northern Ogaden but still occured locally within a reasonably large area in the southern Ogaden, where it appears to be quite common in some localities (Wilhelmi 1997). In contrast to the northern Ogaden, which has a relatively high density of settlements and concentrations of armed pastoralists and their herds, the southern Ogaden has lower human densities and extensive areas where the natural flora and fauna appear to be largely intact. The species was seen and photographed in the north-central Ogaden in March 2016 (H. Pohlstrand, in litt.). Dibatag once occurred widely in central Somalia and on the Haud Plateau in the north. By the early 1980s it had disappeared from large parts of its former range but still occurred locally in reasonable numbers in parts of the central coastal hinterland. It seems to have disappeared from Somaliland (northern Somalia) a few decades ago (Mallon and Jama 2015). In Central Somalia, local people indicated that it was still present in the late 1980s, but no more recent information is available. This area has been affected by 30 years of civil and military conflict as well as drought and overgrazing and its status is widely considered to have deteriorated, along with that of other antelope species such as Nanger soemmerringii and Oryx beisa that are easier to monitor (Wilhelmi et al. 2006).
Countries occurrence:
Ethiopia; Somalia
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):200
Upper elevation limit (metres):1200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Based on the results of a field survey in 1959 (Scott 1965), the population size of Dibatag was estimated at approximately 12,000 individuals with an average density of 1/km² (Schomber 1966). After three decades of political unrest and armed conflicts a cautious estimate assumed a total population in the very low thousands (East 1999). The results of recent field surveys in the Ogaden region (Wilhelmi 1997, Wilhelmi et al. 2006) are somewhat better than expected. Wilhelmi (2013) estimated about 4,000 animals in the central Ogaden (ca 46,000 km²) and there are an unknown number in Somalia. Dibatags are alert and hard to locate in dense bush, so it likely that numbers are higher than believed (Wilhlemi 2013). More accurate estimates of density and total population size in both range countries are urgently needed once the security situation permits.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:2800Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Dibatag inhabit semi-arid, dense to scattered bush, low- to medium-height thornbush savannah and plains with thicket/grassland mosaics. They prefer sandy to moderately gravelled, ferrous oxide rich red soils, characterized by numerous termite mounds (Wilhelmi 2013). Their altitudinal range is approximately 200 to 1,200 m (Yalden et al. 1984).
Generation Length (years):4.6
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Hunting for meat is a range-wide threat, exacerbated in places by political instability and prevalence of weapons.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Drought and habitat degradation due to overgrazing affect the whole range of this species. Hunting is a threat, exacerbated by political instability and periodic civil and military conflicts over the past 30 years (and continuing), resulting in a prevalence of weapons and over-exploitation of wildlife. However, the Dibatag’s alertness, flight distance and the difficulty of hunting it in dense bush have enabled it to survive locally (Wilhelmi 2013). Local people consider that it is very shy and more alert than any other antelope species, and that it is almost impossible to hunt Dibatag intentionally, even though its meat is preferred because of its excellent taste (Wilhelmi 2013). Uncontrolled exploitation of trees and scrub for charcoal, exported in huge quantities to the Gulf states is likely to be negatively affecting the habitat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no protected areas within its range and no Dibatags are known to be held in captivity, except for a few confiscated individuals in Ethiopia. Therefore there is an urgent need to initiate conservation action in those parts of its range where this may be feasible (e.g., the southern Ogaden). Negative factors continue to impact on the species and its status is likely to deteriorate unless these can be mitigated. It is shy and alert and these attributes make it difficult to hunt. The species is very poorly studied and is a high conservation priority.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:No
  Occur in at least one PA:No
  Percentage of population protected by PAs (0-100):0
  Area based regional management plan:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.2. Droughts
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.1. Nomadic grazing
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ 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 ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 4 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.2. War, civil unrest & military exercises
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

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

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2. Available at: (Accessed: 04 September 2016).

Mallon, D.P. and Jama, A.A. 2015. Current staus of antelopes in Somaliland. IUCN/SSC Antelope Specialist Group and Nature Somaliland.

Schomber, H. W. 1966. Die Giraffen- und Lamagazelle. Die Neue Brehm-Bücherei, A. Ziemsen Verlag, Wittenberg Lutherstadt.

Scott, P. 1965. Section XIII. Preliminary List of Rare Mammals and Birds. The Launching of a New Ark. First Report of the President and Trustees of the World Wildlife Fund. An International Foundation for saving the world's wildlife and wild places 1961-1964, pp. 15-207. Collins, London, UK.

Wilhelmi, F.K. 1997. Ground Survey on Wildlife in the Ogaden Region in Eastern Ethiopia. Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations, Munich, Germany.

Wilhelmi, F. K. 2013. Ammodorcas clarkei Dibatag (Clarke's Gazelle). In: J. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa. VI. Pigs, Hippopotamuses, Chevrotain, Giraffes, Deer, and Bovids, pp. 388-390. 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.

Yalden, D. W., Largen, M. J. and Kock, D. 1984. Catalogue of the mammals of Ethiopia. 5. Artiodactyla. Monitore zoologico italiano/Italian Journal of Zoology, N.S. Supplemento 19(4): 67-221.

Citation: Heckel, J., Wilhelmi, F., Kaariye, X. & Amir, O. 2016. Ammodorcas clarkei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T1141A50181613. . Downloaded on 22 June 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided