Tragelaphus scriptus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Tragelaphus scriptus
Species Authority: (Pallas, 1766)
Common Name(s):
English Bushbuck
Taxonomic Notes: Numerous subspecies have been recognized, but a continent-wide reassessment is overdue (see Plumptre and Wronski in press for discussion).

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)
Total population numbers are estimated at ca. 1,340,000, and this is probably a conservative estimate. Numbers are generally stable over considerable parts of the range, but decreasing near densely settled areas. It therefore does not currently meet the criteria for threatened status or Near Threatened.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Bushbuck ranges very widely in sub-Saharan Africa, occurring in 40 African countries, more than any other antelope species (East 1999). They range from Mauritania, Senegal and Guinea Bissau through West Africa, south of the Sahara, to north-east Africa then southwards throughout East Africa and the more mesic areas of southern Africa to the Western Cape of South Africa (East 1999; Plumptre and Wronski in press). The only sub-Saharan country from which they have not recently been recorded, and where they may formerly have occurred, is Lesotho (Lynch 1994).
Angola (Angola); Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Possibly extinct:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The Bushbuck reaches high densities in localized areas of favourabe habitat, e.g., 78 resident individuals were identified within a 2.6 km² area of open forest within Nairobi National Park (Kenya) giving a population density of 30/km², and faecal counts gave population density estimates of 11 - 44/km² in montane forest and adjoining habitats within Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda). Aerial surveys undoubtedly grossly underestimate the Bushbuck’s population density because of its preference for cover and its secretive habits. Ground surveys have produced density estimates of 0.08-1.0/m², but again the Bushbuck’s tendency to remain concealed probably results in significant undercounting in some ground surveys (East 1999; Plumpre and Wronski in press; and references therein).

East (1999) estimated the total population of Bushbuck at 1,340,000, likely an underestimate. Its numbers are stable over considerable parts of its range, but are decreasing in densely settled regions (various authors in East 1999).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Bushbuck occur widely in sub-Saharan Africa wherever there is cover to conceal it, from sea level to 4,000 m, from rainforest edge to patches of gallery forest and bush near water in the subdesert. It is naturally absent from arid and semi-arid regions and from extensive areas of closed-canopy forest. Its ability to survive in human-dominated landscapes and to withstand heavy hunting pressure have enabled it to persist over much of its former range (East 1999). Bushbuck are primarily browsers; in some areas, they enter agricultural fields to eat crops and may be considered a pest (Plumptre and Wronski in press).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Bushbuck is hunted for food and for sport. The proportion of animals taken from the wild and from ranches is unknown.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Bushbuck have disappeared from some areas in the drier parts of its former range because of habitat destruction and increasing aridity, but it is expanding its distribution within the equatorial forest zone as this is opened up by human activities. There do not seem to be any major threats to its long-term conservation, although numbers may be gradually decreasing locally as hunting pressures increase in parts of its range (East 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Bushbuck is present in numerous protected areas across its range. Its ability to survive widely in settled areas and successfully utilize habitats modified by human activities should ensure that it survives in substantial numbers outside protected areas for the foreseeable future (East 1999).

Bibliography [top]

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

Lynch, C.D. 1994. The mammals of Lesotho. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum Bloemfontein 10(4): 177-241.

Plumptre, A. J. and Wronski, T. In press. Tragelaphus scriptus. In: J. S. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa, Academic Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group 2008. Tragelaphus scriptus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 04 September 2015.
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