Kobus leche ssp. kafuensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Kobus leche ssp. kafuensis Haltenorth, 1963
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Kafue Lechwe
Taxonomic Notes: Kafue Lechwe (Kobus leche kafuensis) is one of five subspecies of Southern Lechwe (Kobus leche), following Ansell and Banfield (1979), Birungi and Arctander (2001) and Cotterill (2005). The other subspecies being: Black Lechwe (K. l. smithemani); Red Lechwe (K. l. leche); Robert's Lechwe (K. l. robertsi) and Upemba Lechwe (K. l. anselli).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2acde ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-01-07
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Cooke, R.
Contributor(s): Shanungu, K, Beilfuss, R.
The population of this subspecies has undergone an estimated continuing decline of 69% over 19 years (three generations; 63% absolute decline between 1999 and 2015) due to poaching, changes to water management, disease, agricultural encroachment and invasive species of vegetation. The entire population is restricted to a single location (Kafue Flats). Maintenance of a seasonal flooding regime is critically important to its survival and significant alteration to the current hydrological status could prove catastrophic.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Kafue Lechwe (K. l. kafuensis) is confined to the Kafue Flats, a wetland area in the middle Kafue River system of Central Zambia. 

For the distribution map, see the parent species assessment: Kobus leche.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Number of Locations:1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The Kafue Lechwe population has been monitored for many years, and has a reliable time-series of population records. In the early 1970s, estimates consistently put the population at between 90,000 and 110,000. By the early 1980s the population had been reduced to between 40,000 and 45,000, but increased thereafter slowly to between 50,000 and 70,000 (Jeffery and Nefdt 2013 and references therein). East (1999) estimated a total of 78,000. An aerial survey in April 2015 estimated 28,711 (Shanungu et al. 2015) an absolute decline of 63% since 1999.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:20000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
All individuals in one subpopulation:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Lechwe prefer floodplain grasslands, shallow water margins of floodplains and swamps (less than 1 m deep), shallow water meadows and light woodlands and termitaria grasslands on their periphery (Jeffery and Nefdt 2013).
Generation Length (years):6.4

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Kafue Lechwe are hunted primarily for meat but also for sport (Jeffery and Nefdt 2013). It is possible that revenue generation through sustainable offtake by sport hunters which capitalises on the species’ value as a trophy animal and the development of sustainable harvesting to provide meat for local people in the Kafue Flats, may play a role in the conservation of lechwe populations (East 1999).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Water flow on the Kafue floodplain has been regulated almost entirely by human needs since the construction of hydroelectric dams at the eastern and western ends of the Flats in the 1970s. The Kafue Flats are also used for livestock grazing and the peripheral area is densely settled, particularly in the south. Shanungu et al. (2015) listed the causes of the decline as encroachment by invasive shrubs, the native Dicrostachys cinerea and the alien Mimosa pigra; disease including bovine TB; poaching; and high level of legal harvest (annual quota of 598) as well as cattle grazing and human encroachment.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Occur in Lochinvar and Blue Lagoon National Parks and Kafue Flats Game Management Area (Jeffery and Nefdt 2013).

Classifications [top]

4. Grassland -> 4.6. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.3. Wetlands (inland) - Shrub Dominated Wetlands
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:Yes
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.1. Nomadic grazing
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ 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:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

2. Conservation Planning -> 2.3. Harvest & Trade Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends

Bibliography [top]

Ansell, W.F.H. and Banfield, C.F. 1979. The subspecies of Kobus leche Gray, 1850 (Bovidae). Säugetierkundliche Mitteilungen 40: 168-176.

Birungi, J. and Arctander, P. 2001. Molecular systematics and phylogeny of the Reduncini (Artiodactyla: Bovidae) inferred from the analysis of mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences. Journal of Mammalian Evolution 8: 125-147.

Cotterill, F.P.D. 2005. The Upemba lechwe, Kobus anselli: an antelope new to science emphasizes the conservation importance of Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo. Journal of Zoology (London) 265: 113 -132.

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

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

Jeffery, R. and Nefdt, R. 2013. Kobus leche Southern Lechwe. In: J.S. Kingdon & M. Hoffmann (ed.), The Mammals of Africa. VI. Pigs, Hippopotamuses, Chevrotain, Giraffes, Deer, and Bovids, pp. 449-455. Bloomsbury Publishing, London, UK.

Shanungu G.K., Kaumba C.H. and Beilfuss R. 2015. Current Population Status and Distribution of Large Herbivores and Floodplain Birds of the Kafue Flats Wetlands, Zambia: Results of the 2015 Wet Season Aerial Survey. Zambia Wildlife Authority, Chilanga, Zambia.

Citation: IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. 2017. Kobus leche ssp. kafuensis. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T11045A50190244. . Downloaded on 24 June 2018.
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