ASG is responsible for evaluating the conservation status for all 91 of the world’s antelope species, and for practical reasons also includes within its remit six non-antelopes: African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer), Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), Okapi (Okapia johnstoni), Water Chevrotain (Hyemoschus aquaticus) as well as, for Red List purposes, Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) and Tibetan Antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii).
Recent advances in molecular genetic research and genetic analysis are revolutionizing approaches to taxonomy and constantly clarifying the relationships between currently recognized taxa. ASG will undertake a review of recent research and potential changes to the status of antelope species and subspecies later in 2008.
Antelopes occur in all the countries of Africa, the south-east corner of Europe (Russia) and 28 countries in the Middle East and Asia, reaching as far east as China and Mongolia. Pronghorn is restricted to North America.
One fourth of antelope species are threatened with extinction in the world!
The conservation status of species monitored by the Antelope Specialist Group (SSC/IUCN) has recently been updated as part of the Global Mammal Assessment:
- Out of the 91 species of antelopes existing in the world, 25 species are threatened with extinction.
- Species population trends (figure)
o The springbok (
) is the only antelope species to increase in number;
o Populations are stable in 31% of the antelope species;
o Populations decrease in 62% of the antelope species.
- Species Conservation Status (figure)
o Nearly 70% of the antelope species are classified as ‘Near Threatened’ or ‘Least Concern’, i.e. they are not threatened with extinction;
o 9 species of antelopes are classified as 'Vulnerable';
o 9 species of antelopes are classified as 'Endangered';
o 5 species of antelopes are classified as ‘Critically Endangered’:
o The Scimitar horned oryx (
Oryx dammah ) is already extinct in the wild.
- Sub-species Conservation Status
The global situation is worse when considering the 49 sub-species of antelopes which have been assessed; within species of antelopes not threatened with extinction (‘Near threatened’ or ‘Least Concern’):
o 10 sub-species are classified as 'Vulnerable';
o 5 sub-species are classified as 'Endangered';
o 5 sub-species are classified as ‘Critically Endangered’:
- Tora hartebeest (
Alcelaphus buselaphus ssp. tora );
- Giant sable antelope ( Hippotragus niger ssp. variani );
- Upemba lechwe ( Kobus leche ssp. anselli );
- Western giant eland ( Tragelaphus derbianus ssp. derbianus );
- Mountain bongo ( Tragelaphus eurycerus ssp. isaaci ).
Only the Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii) is threatened with extinction (‘Endangered’) out the 6 non-antelope species monitored by the ASG; within the non-threatened species, only the west African giraffe sub-species (Giraffa camelopardalis ssp. peralta) is classified as ‘Endangered’.
A complete taxonomic list with detailed information is available in the Antelope Database.