Tragelaphus strepsiceros 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Tragelaphus strepsiceros (Pallas, 1766)
Common Name(s):
English Greater Kudu
French Grand Koudou

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-06-14
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Hoffmann, M.
Total population numbers have been estimated at ca 482,000, with about 15% in protected areas and 61% on private land. Population trends are generally increasing in protected areas and on private land and decreasing elsewhere (24%). The species’ overall status will remain satisfactory as long as it continues to be represented by large, stable or increasing populations on private land and in protected areas in southern and south-central Africa. The high numbers of this species on private land reflect its value as one of Africa’s major trophy animals. The safari hunting industry is therefore very important for ensuring the continued existence of large numbers of Greater Kudu on private land. The status of the northern populations is precarious, and their survival will depend on more effective protection and management.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Historically, the Greater Kudu occurred over much of eastern and southern Africa, from Chad nearly to the Red Sea, south to the Eastern Cape, west to Namibia and north to mid-Angola. While it has disappeared from substantial areas, mainly in the north of its range, it generally persists in a greater part of its former range than other large antelope species, as a result of its secretiveness and its ability to survive in settled areas with sufficient cover. As in the past, it is much more sparsely distributed and less numerous in the northern parts of its range (from northern Tanzania northwards) than further south.

In Eritrea Greater Kudu were observed in Semenawi Bahari on the escarpment north of Asmara in 2014 (Mallon 2014). The species may now be extinct in Djibouti, where a few were reported to survive in the south on the Ethiopia border in the 1980s (East 1999, Heckel and Rayaleh 2008). In Somalia, Simonetta (1988) suggested they may survive on the northern slopes of the Ga'an Libah in the north-west, where tracks and local reports were recorded by Mallon and Jama (2015); there are recently discovered museum specimens collected in the 1960s from south and central Somalia that expand the known historical range  (Gippoliti and Fagotto 2012). There is no recent information on their status in South Sudan (they were not recorded during recent surveys in the south, Fay et al. 2007) or Uganda (East 1999).
Countries occurrence:
Angola; Botswana; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Possibly extinct:
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Citing various authors, East (1999) indicates that population estimates are available for many parts of the Greater Kudu’s range, but many of these are based on aerial counts which tend to substantially underestimate this species’ actual numbers. The sum of the available estimates (352,000) is therefore likely to be considerably less than the true total numbers of the species. Population densities estimated from aerial surveys are frequently less than 0.1/km², even in areas where this species is known to be at least reasonably common. Higher densities of 0.2-0.4/km² have been estimated by aerial surveys in some other areas. Ground counts in areas where the Greater Kudu is common have produced population density estimates from 0.3/m² to 4.1/km² (East 1999).

East (1999) estimated a total population of around 482,000 Greater Kudu, with the largest populations found in Namibia, where the species remains widely abundant on private farmland, and South Africa. Population trends are generally stable or increasing on private land and in protected areas in southern and south-central Africa and Tanzania, but show a tendency to decline in other regions.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:300000-350000
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Preferred habitat includes mixed scrub woodland (it is one of the few large mammals that thrives in settled areas - in the scrub woodland and bush that reclaims abandoned fields and degraded pastures-), acacia, and mopane bush on lowlands, hills, and mountains. Recorded to 2,400 m in Ethiopia (Yalden et al. 1996). Kudu are browsers; they can exist for long periods without drinking, obtaining sufficient moisture from their food, but become water dependent at times when the vegetation is very dry (Owen-Smith 2013).
Generation Length (years):6.2

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Greater Kudu is much sought after by hunters, both for the magnificent horns of bulls and more generally for their high-quality meat (Owen-Smith 2013). They are one of the most commonly hunted species in southern Africa, and generate the highest proportion (13.2%) of hunting income in South Africa (Patterson and Khosha 2005). Greater Kudu are also a favoured game-ranching species, because as browsers they do not compete with domestic livestock (Owen-Smith 2013). The percentage of animals in offtake from ranching versus wild is not known.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Greater Kudu’s status is less satisfactory in the northern parts of its range, due to over-hunting and habitat loss. Greater Kudus are heavily hunted, however, this does not seem to be affecting the species' overall long-term survival as they seem to be quite resilient to hunting pressure and remain abundant and well managed in other parts of its range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Greater Kudu are well represented in protected areas, from southern Tanzania to South Africa, with major populations in parks and reserves such as Ruaha-Rungwa- Kisigo and Selous (Tanzania), Luangwa Valley and Kafue (Zambia), Etosha (Namibia), Moremi, Chobe and Central Kgalagadi (Botswana), Hwange, Chizarira, Mana Pools and Gonarezhou (Zimbabwe) and Kruger and Hluhluwe-Umfolozi (South Africa). It also occurs widely outside protected areas, including large numbers on private farms and conservancies in southern Africa (Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa) where it is a mainstay of the trophy hunting industry (East 1999). East (1999) estimated that some 60% of the global population occurs on private land, and they seem to be expanding their distribution outside protected areas.

In the northern parts of its range, key areas where some of the northern populations appear to have reasonable prospects for long-term survival include Zakouma N.P. (Chad), Awash N.P. (Ethiopia), Baringo, northern Laikipia and Tsavo (Kenya), and Tarangire (Tanzania) (East 1999).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade 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
  Percentage of population protected by PAs (0-100):11-20
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 4 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.2. Gathering terrestrial plants -> 5.2.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends

Bibliography [top]

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

Estes, R. D. 1992. The Safari Companion; A guide to watching African mammals. Chelsea Green Pub. Co., Vermont 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.

Gippoliti, S. and Fagotto, F. 2012. On the greater kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros, in southern and central Somalia. Mammalia 76(3): 323-325.

Heckel, J.-O. and Rayaleh, H. A. 2008. Status of wild ungulates in Djibouti. In: T. Woodfine and T. Wacher (eds), Proceedings of the Ninth Annual SSIG Meeting 2008, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, pp. 19-24. Sahara Conservation Fund.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

Mallon, D. 2014. Eritrea Reconnaissance 2013: Trip report. IUCN/SSC Antelope Specialist Group and Zoo Landau in der Pfalz.

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

Owen-Smith, N. 2013. Tragelaphus strepsiceros. In: J. S. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa. VI. Pigs, Hippopotamuses, Chevrotain, Giraffes, Deer, and Bovids, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, UK.

Patterson, C. and Khosa, P. 2005. Background research paper: A status quo study on the professional and recreational hunting industry in South Africa. Trade Record Analysis for Fauna and Flora in Commerce, Pretoria, South Africa.

Simonetta, A.M. 1988. Chapter 6: Somalia. In: R. East (ed.), Antelopes Global Survey and Regional Action Plans. Part. 1: East and Northeast Africa, pp. 27-33. IUCN, Gland and Cambridge, Switzerland.

Yalden, D.W., Largen, M.J., Kock, D. and Hillman, J.C. 1996. Catalogue of the Mammals of Ethiopia and Eritrea. 7. Revised checklist, zoogeography and conservation. Tropical Zoology 9(1): 73-164.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2016. Tragelaphus strepsiceros. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22054A50196734. . Downloaded on 20 September 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