Litocranius walleri 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Litocranius walleri (Brooke, 1879)
Common Name(s):
English Gerenuk
French Gazelle de Waller, Gazelle-Giraffe
Taxonomic Notes: Two subspecies have been named for Litocranius walleri: the southern L. w. walleri and the larger northern L. w. sclateri (see Grubb 2002). The boundary between the two named forms is not clearly defined. Only the species is assessed here.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-04-20
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Hoffmann, M.
The Gerenuk is estimated to be close to meeting the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion A2cd, based on a decline of at least 25% over the last 14 years (three generations) calculated from 2002-2016. This decline is continuing due to hunting and habitat degradation caused by livestock grazing and cutting of trees.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Gerenuk (Litocranius walleri) formerly occurred widely in the semi-arid bushland of north-east Africa, from southern Djibouti to north-east Tanzania. The northern limit of the range is about 11o30'N in Djibouti (Laurent and Laurent 2002) and the southern limit around Tarangire National Park (NP) in Tanzania (Leuthold 2013). The Gerenuk still occupies large parts of its historical range. It was described as the commonest and most widespread antelope species across Somalia by Funaioli and Simonetta (1966) but little recent information is available on its current distribution there and it was expected to have been severely reduced (East 1999). The species remains widely but thinly spread in Somaliland, northern Somalia (Mallon and Jama 2013).
Countries occurrence:
Djibouti; Ethiopia; Kenya; Somalia; Tanzania, United Republic of
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1600
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:East (1999) estimated the population at 24,000, based on aerial counts and revised that figure to 95,000 to account for under-counting bias in aerial surveys. The species is difficult to census both from the ground and especially from the air, due to its often dense bush habitats, small group size and cryptic colouration (Leuthold 2013). Density estimates range from a maximum of 0.2/km² on aerial surveys to 1.0/km² from road counts and up to 8.0/km² in particularly favourable habitats, such as Samburu G.R. in Kenya (Leuthold 2013). East (1999) estimated that only 10% occurred in protected areas. The largest surviving populations occur in south-western Ethiopia and the northern and eastern rangelands of Kenya. Population trend may be generally stable in protected areas, with a few exceptions such as the declining population of Tsavo National Park, and slowly decreasing elsewhere. East (1999) suggested a 50% decline in Kenya since 1970. In Tanzania, Gerenuks remain common in the Lake Natron area and fairly common in West Kilimanjaro, but have declined in the Makame depression in recent years because of over-hunting (Foley et al. 2014).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Inhabits bushland, thickets, semi-arid and arid thornbush (below 1,600 m), avoiding dense woodlands and very open, grass-dominated habitats. One of the most exclusive browsers, Gerenuk are largely independent of water (Leuthold 2013).
Generation Length (years):4.6

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted for meat but levels of offtake are unknown.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Gerenuk can withstand hunting pressures to some degree which has enabled it to survive widely in regions such as the Ogaden in the complete absence of protection. Its habitat is subject to encroachment by increasing numbers of pastoralists and cutting of trees for firewood and charcoal. Civil conflicts, wars and unrest have affected much of the range in Somalia and the Ogaden over recent decades. If current trends continue, it may eventually disappear from large parts of its present distribution until it is largely restricted to effectively protected and managed areas of suitable habitat. Such areas currently comprise only a small part of its remaining range. The largest protected population, in Tsavo National Park, has been reduced by rinderpest and drought (East 1999). Agricultural expansion, for example in the southern Masai steppe is encroaching on their habitat, but most of Gerenuk's range is too arid to support agriculture (Foley et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: About 10% of the population occurs in protected areas (East 1999). Important protected area populations occur in Mago NP and Awash NP (Ethiopia), Sibiloi, Tsavo and Meru National Parks and Samburu Game Reserve (Kenya) and Mkomazi Game Reserve and Tarangire NP (Tanzania). It can be favoured by the spread of thickets following overgrazing by grasslands by livestock or removal of elephants by poaching.

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Percentage of population protected by PAs (0-100):1-10
  Area based regional management plan:No
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ 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 -> 5.3.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

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

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

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

Foley, C., Foley, L., Lobora, A., De Luca, D., Msuha, M., Davenport, T.R.B. and Durant, S. 2014. A Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Tanzania. Princeton University Press, Princeton, USA.

Funaioli, U. and Simonetta, A.M. 1966. The mammalian fauna of the Somalia Republic: Status and conservation problems. Monitore Zoologico Italiano, Supplemento: 285-347.

Grubb, P. 2002. Types, type locality and subspecies of the gerenuk Litocranius walleri (Artiodactyla: Bovidae). Journal of Zoology (London) 257: 539-543.

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

Laurent, A. and Laurent, D. 2002. Djibouti: Les mammifères d’hier à aujourd'hui pour demain. Editions Beira, Toulouse, France.

Leuthold, W. 2013. Litocranius walleri Gerenuk. In: J. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa. VI. Pigs, Hippopotamuses, Chevrotain, Deer, Giraffes and Bovids, pp. 391-397. Bloomsbury Publishing, London, UK.

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

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2016. Litocranius walleri. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T12142A50190292. . Downloaded on 19 June 2018.
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