Tetracerus quadricornis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Tetracerus quadricornis (de Blainville, 1816)
Common Name(s):
English Four-horned Antelope
French Antilope à Quatre Cornes, Tétracère
Spanish Antílope de Cuatro Cuernos

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-07-19
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Cooke, R.
Contributor(s): Mallon, D.
The population is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals. Based on loss of forest habitat, there is a continuing inferred and projected population decline and no subpopulation is estimated to contain more than 1,000 mature individuals. The species is not well studied and much more information is needed on distribution at the fine scale, population size and density. It is possible that it is already close to reaching Endangered status.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Four-horned Antelope is distributed widely, but in scattered populations, over most of India, from the Himalayan foothills to peninsular India (Rahmani 2001); a few may remain in lowland Nepal. Sharma et al. (2007) recorded recent presence at 122 points and said that most local extinctions had occurred north of the Gangetic plains and in Maharashtra.
Countries occurrence:
India; Nepal
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:No robust values of the current global population are available, but in 2001 numbers were estimated at >10,000 individuals, ca 7,000 mature individuals (Mallon and Kingswood 2001). Densities are generally low (0.2-2.05 individuals/km²) and vary depending on habitat conditions, competition with domestic livestock, predation, and degree of protection (Leslie and Sharma 2009). Baskaran et al. (2009) estimated 0.88/km² in Mudumulai, southern India and said numbers appeared to be low. The species does not appear to be common anywhere within its range.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:7000-10000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Four-horned Antelopes are restricted to forest habitats and grassland margins, and mostly occur in open, dry deciduous mixed forests in undulating or hilly areas and never far from water; they are solitary and browse and graze (Rahmani 2001, Sharma 2006, Sharma et al. 2007, Leslie and Sharma 2009).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):4.1

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Because of its unique set of horns, this species has been prized as a hunting trophy (Nowak 1999). It is eaten in India and Nepal, but is reportedly not as palatable as other antelopes (Nowak 1999). However, hunting is not a very widespread activity within India

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat to the species is habitat destruction, through the clearance of scrub and forest for agriculture, leading to direct habitat loss and lack of connectivity between protected areas; with the compounding effects of hunting and competition with livestock (Nowak 1999, Ravan et al. 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in many protected areas in India (for example, Gir N.P., Panna N.P., Pench N.P., and Kanha Tiger Reserve). It is totally protected by law on Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act. It is listed on CITES Appendix III (Nepal only).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.4. 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

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:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

Bibliography [top]

Baskaran, N., Desai, A.J. and Udhayan, A. 2009. Population distribution and conservation of four-horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis) in the tropical dry fores of southern India. J. Sci. Trans. Environ. Technov. 2: 139-144.

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-2. Available at: (Accessed: 14 September 2017).

Leslie Jr., D. M. and Sharma, K. 2009. Tetracerus quadricornis (Artiodactyla: Bovidae). Mammalian Species 843: 1-11.

Mallon, D.P. and Kingswood, S.C. 2001. Antelopes. Part 4: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Global Survey and Regional Action Plans. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Nowak, R.M. (ed.) 1999. Walkers Mammals of the World. Sixth edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.

Rahmani, A.R. 2001. India. In: D.P. Mallon & S.C. Kingswood (ed.), Antelopes. Part 4: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Global Survey and Rgeional Action Plans, pp. 178-187. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Ravan, S., Dixit, A.M. and Mathur, V.B. 2005. Spatial analysis for identification and evaluation of forested corridors between two protected areas in Central India. Current Science 88(9): 1441-1448.

Sharma, K. 2006. Distribution, status, ecology, and behavior of the four-horned antelope Tetracerus quadricornis). Ph.D. dissertation, University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India.

Sharma, K., Rahmani, A.R. and Chundawat, R.S. 2007. Ecological study on the four-horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis) in a tropical dry forest. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2017. Tetracerus quadricornis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T21661A50195368. . Downloaded on 24 February 2018.
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