Ammodorcas clarkei


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Ammodorcas clarkei
Species Authority: (Thomas, 1891)
Common Name(s):
English Dibatag, Clarke's Gazelle

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Heckel, J.-O., Wilhelmi, F., Kaariye, X.Y. & Amir, O.G.
Reviewer(s): Mallon, D.P. & Chardonnet, P. (Antelope Red List Authority)
Dibatag has disappeared from substantial parts of its former range, e.g., northern Ogaden where human and livestock numbers are now high and it is under heavy pressure in Somalia. The overall decline in range and numbers due to hunting and habitat degradation is estimated to have exceeded 30% over three generations (21 years, 1985 to 2006). However, numbers are currently cautiously estimated to exceed the threshold of 2,500 mature individuals that would be necessary to qualify for a listing as EN under criterion C (Wilhelmi et al. 2006) but may be close to meeting this.
2007 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Endemic to the Ogaden region of SE Ethiopia and adjoining areas of N and C Somalia.

In Ethiopia, dibatag formerly occurred widely in the vast plains of the Ogaden region in the eastern lowlands. An extensive ground survey revealed that the dibatag is now rare or absent in the northern Ogaden but still occurs locally within a reasonably large area in the southern Ogaden, where it appears to be quite common in some localities (Wilhelmi 1997). In contrast to the northern Ogaden, which has a relatively high density of settlements and concentrations of armed pastoralists and their herds, the southern Ogaden has lower human densities and extensive areas where the natural flora and fauna appear to be largely intact.

It once occurred widely in central Somalia and on the Haud Plateau. By the early 1980s it had disappeared from large parts of its former range but still occurred locally in reasonable numbers in parts of the central coastal hinterland. Local people indicated that it was still present in this region in the late 1980s, but no more recent information is available. This area has been affected by 20 years of civil and military conflict as well as drought and overgrazing and its status is widely considered to have deteriorated, along with that of other antelope species such as Nanger soemmerringii and Oryx beisa that are easier to monitor (Wilhelmi et al. 2006).
Ethiopia; Somalia
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Based on the results of Scott’s expedition in 1959, the population size was estimated at approximately 12,000 individuals with an average density of one animal per km² (Schomber 1966). After three decades of political unrest and armed conflicts a cautious estimate assumed a total population in the very low thousands (East 1999).

The results of recent field surveys in the Ogaden region are better than expected and the finding that this species still occurs in a large area is encouraging. Estimates based on observations and counts suggest a population of about 1,500 in the Ogaden (Wilhelmi et al. 2006). The total surviving population of the Dibatag is unknown, but is clearly not large. Assuming a total remaining range of 10,000 km² and an average population density of 0.1 to 0.3 per km² would suggest a total population in the low thousands. Since Dibatag are very secretive, it is likely that more accurate and even higher population estimates will be found, once thorough field work is possible.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Dibatag inhabit semi-arid, dense to scattered bush, low- to medium-height thornbush savanna and plains with thicket/grassland mosaics. They prefer sandy to moderately gravelled, ferrous oxide rich red soils, characterized by numerous termite mounds (Wilhelmi, in press). Their altitudinal range is approximately 200 to 1,200 m (Yalden et al. 1986).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Drought and habitat degradation due to overgrazing affect the whole range. In Somalia, extreme political instability and periodic civil and military conflicts over the past 20 years (and continuing), and lack of any central government control have resulted in a prevalence of weapons, over-exploitation of wildlife, and lack of protection for wildlife. Uncontrolled exploitation of trees and scrub for charcoal, exported in huge quantities to the Gulf states is likely to be negatively affecting the habitat.

Hunting is also a factor in Ethiopia, but the dibatag’s alertness and the difficulty in hunting it in dense bush have enabled it to survive locally in viable numbers. Local people consider that it is very shy and more alert than any other antelope species, and that it is almost impossible to hunt dibatag intentionally, even though its meat is preferred because of its excellent taste.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no protected areas within its range. Establishment of a captive- breeding population has been proposed. There is urgency in initiating conservation action in those parts of its range where this is feasible, e.g., the southern Ogaden. Negative factors continue to impact on the species and its status is likely to deteriorate unless these can be mitigated.

Bibliography [top]

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (comps and eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

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

Groombridge, B. (ed.). 1994. 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 1990. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1986. 1986 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1988. 1988 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Schomber, H. W. 1966. Die Giraffen- und Lamagazelle. Die Neue Brehm-Bücherei, A. Ziemsen Verlag, Wittenberg Lutherstadt.

Scott, P. 1965. Section XIII. Preliminary List of Rare Mammals and Birds. The Launching of a New Ark. First Report of the President and Trustees of the World Wildlife Fund. An International Foundation for saving the world's wildlife and wild places 1961-1964, pp. 15-207. Collins, London, UK.

Wilhelmi, F. K. 1997. Ground Survey on Wildlife in the Ogaden Region in Eastern Ethiopia. Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations, Munich, Germany.

Wilhelmi, F., Kaariye, X. Y., Hammer, S., Hammer, C. and Heckel, J.-O. 2006. On the status of wild ungulates in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. Proceedings of the Sahara-Sahelo Interest Group Meeting 2006, Douz, Tunisia.. Douz, Tunisia.

Wilhelmi, F. K. In press. Ammodorcas clarkei. In: J. S. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa, Academic Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Yalden, D. W., Largen, M. J. and Kock, D. 1984. Catalogue of the mammals of Ethiopia. 5. Artiodactyla. Monitore zoologico italiano/Italian Journal of Zoology, N.S. Supplemento 19(4): 67-221.

Citation: Heckel, J.-O., Wilhelmi, F., Kaariye, X.Y. & Amir, O.G. 2008. Ammodorcas clarkei. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 August 2015.
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