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Raphicerus melanotis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CETARTIODACTYLA BOVIDAE

Scientific Name: Raphicerus melanotis
Species Authority: (Thunberg, 1811)
Common Name(s):
English Cape Grysbok

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:
Listed as Least Concern as despite its restricted range, the Cape Grysbok is common, adaptable, and there are no major threats resulting in extensive declines. The status of this species should not change as long as it is well represented in protected areas and occurs in good numbers on private farms where it can adapt to the predominant forms of land use.

The population trend is generally stable in protected areas and on private land but decreasing in some other areas where human population densities are high.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Endemic to South Africa, where largely confined to the Cape Floristic Region. It remains widespread and locally common within its historical range in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces. For more detailed discussion of the distribution range see East (1999) and Castley and Lloyd (in press).
Countries:
Native:
South Africa
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Cape Grysbok are normally solitary and cryptic in their behaviour and therefore seldom seen. They are particularly difficult to see in dense vegetation, which is exacerbated in fire-prone areas such as the fynbos of the Western Cape (Castley and Lloyd in press). Scott (1991) studied the distribution of small antelopes in De Hoop Nature Reserve between 1985 and 1987 and recorded densities of 0.21 animals per 100 km travelled for Cape Grysbok compared with 2.64 for Steenbok. This might suggest that Steenbok are at least 10 times more abundant than Cape Grysbok but, when habitat preferences and relative visibility are taken into account, it is likely that Cape Grysbok have been substantially underestimated (Castley and Lloyd in press).

Based on available habitat, and a requirement of between 6 and 456 ha per animal depending on the vegetation type, Cape Grysbok numbers could lie between 231,448 (post-habitat transformation) and 322,977 (pre-habitat transformation) in the Cape Floristic Region (Kerley et al. 2003), almost an order of magnitude higher than earlier estimates (East 1999).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The Cape Grysbok is locally common in thickets, shrublands and the fynbos biome. Dense cover is an important habitat requirement. Their presence in the high-altitude grasslands of the north-eastern Cape is conditional on the proximity of forest fragments and bush clumps, although they may also use long grass for cover (Castley and Lloyd in press). They also enter developed areas such as vineyards and agricultural areas (East 1999), and have been blamed, along with the Common Duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia), for extensive damage to young shoots in tea plantations in the Cedarberg (C.T. Stuart and T. Stuart, in Castley and Lloyd in press). Grysbok are predominantly broswers, and have limited water requirements (Castley and Lloyd in press).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to the species. Localized declines may occur due to habitat encroachment and loss of dense vegetation in some areas. For example, Grysbok ranges have seen local declines in numbers from areas such as the Addo Elephant National Park where escalating numbers of elephants have opened up or destroyed thicket habitats (Castley and Lloyd in press).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Cape Grysbok is officially conserved in the majority of formal conservation areas in the Western Cape, as well as in many others in the Eastern Cape. It is known from seven National Parks, including Table Mountain National Park, West Coast National Park, Agulhas National Park, and the Wilderness National Park (Castley and Lloyd in press). In addition, it occurs widely in local authority and forestry reserves and on private land (East 1999).

Bibliography [top]

Castley, G. and Lloyd, P. In press. Raphicerus melanotis. 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.

Kerley, G. I. H., Pressey, R. L., Cowling, R. M. C., Boshoff, A. F. and Sims-Castley, R. 2003. Options for the conservation of large and medium-sized mammals in the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa. Biological Conservation 112: 169-190.

Scott, H. A. 1991. Factors affecting the distribution of small antelope on the De Hoop Nature Reserve, Southern Cape. Bontebok 7: 7-15.


Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group 2008. Raphicerus melanotis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 November 2014.
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