25% of antelope species “endangered”

A quarter of the world’s antelope species is under threat of extinction because of hunting and human damage to habitats from Tibet to the Sahara, Reuters reported, citing a review by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Twenty-five of 91 antelope species were rated “endangered”.


In a study for the IUCN’s “Red List”, the experts found that populations of antelopes – including the Tibetan gazelle and the silver dik-dik in east Africa — were decreasing for 62% of species, stable for 31% and increasing for only one — the South African springbok. The status of the remainder was uncertain. The Red List is the most comprehensive inventory of the conservation status of the world’s plant and animal species.


In the worst case, the scimitar-horned oryx was rated extinct in the wild despite some unconfirmed reports of wild animals in Niger and Chad. The addax, a large Saharan antelope, was rated among the species most at risk. In Asia, the saiga antelope in Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia was found to be the most threatened.


“Unsustainable harvesting, whether for food or traditional medicine, and human encroachment on their habitat are the main threats” to the antelopes, said Philippe Chardonnet, co-chair of IUCN’s antelope specialist group. “Most antelopes are in developing countries, which is why it’s critically important that we collaborate with local communities there, since it is in their own interest to help preserve these animals.”


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