Philantomba maxwellii


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Philantomba maxwellii
Species Authority: (C.H. Smith, 1827)
Common Name(s):
English Maxwell's Duiker
Cephalophus maxwelli (H. Smith, 1827)
Cephalophus maxwellii (H. Smith, 1827)

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)
Listed as Least Concern as the species remains widespread within its historical range, and abundant, adapting well to modified habitats and showing resiliency in the face of hunting pressure. Maxwell’s Duiker will probably continue to exist in large numbers well into the 2lst century, but even this abundant and resilient species cannot withstand increasing human populations and hunting pressures indefinitely. It has already been severely reduced in numbers or eliminated in those parts of its range with very high human population densities. This foretells its ultimate fate if unrestricted human population growth continues, unless current unrestricted hunting practices are replaced by some form of management which ensures sustainable offtake rates. This would also ensure its continued availability as bushmeat.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Maxwell’s Duiker formerly occurred throughout the moist lowland forests of West Africa, extending into the adjoining savannas (East 1999). It ranges from western Gambia and south-west Senegal east to the Cross River in Nigeria (East 1999; Wilson 2001; Nett and Newing in press).
Benin; Burkina Faso; Côte d'Ivoire; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Togo
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Generally abundant throughout the Guinean forest zone. It is the most common duiker species in Côte d’Ivoire, where Newing (2001) recorded a density of 79 / km² in a mixed, hunted farmland near Taï N.P.

East (1999) produced a total population estimate of 2,137,000, likely a conservative estimate. Despite its resilience to hunting pressure and its adaptability to degraded forest habitats, its numbers show a general tendency to decrease in many areas, especially as there are few protected areas within its range which receive effective levels of protection and management.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Occurs in moist lowland forests (primary, secondary forests and plantations) and more locally within riverine forests, forest patches and forest-savanna mosaics. Much of its original habitat has been destroyed by the spread of settlement and agriculture, but Maxwell's Duiker are particularly adaptable to dense thickets, farm-bush habitats, and it still occurs locally in areas with thick undergrowth or other suitable cover. Thus, it has probably benefited from the destruction of primary forests by adapting well to disturbed habitats and remains widespread, occurring in primary and secondary vegetation and often surviving in close proximity to settlement.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): While much of its original habitat has been modified or destroyed by the spread of agricultural settlement, it adapts to derived savannas and farm bush. Its major threats are human population growth and extensive hunting for bushmeat throughout its range states. It does show considerable resilience to hunting pressure, but not to intense poaching; for example, in the Comoé N.P. in Côte d’Ivoire, high levels of poaching led to numbers of Maxwell’s Duiker declining by more than 90% within 20 years (Fischer and Linsenmair 2001).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It occurs in virtually all protected areas within its range and is well represented in areas such as Sapo (Liberia), Taï (Côte d’Ivoire) and Kakum, Bia and Nini-Suhien (Ghana).

Bibliography [top]

East, R. 1999. African Antelope Database 1999. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Fischer, F. and Linsenmair, K. E. 2001. Decreases in ungulate population densities. Examples from the Comoe National Park, Ivory Coast. Biological Conservation 101: 131-135.

Nett, D. and Newing, H. In press. Philantomba maxwelli. In: J. S. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa, Academic Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Newing, H. 2001. Bushmeat hunting and management: implications of duiker ecology and interspecific competition. Biodiversity and Conservation 10(1): 99–108.

Wilson, V. J. 2001. Duikers of Africa: Masters of the African Forest Floor. Directory Publishers, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group 2008. Philantomba maxwellii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 August 2015.
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