Soemmerring's Gazelle has a tawny-red coat, an extensive white patch on the rump and prominent facial markings - dark stripes run down the nose and from the corners of the eyes to the nose. Both sexes have lyre-shaped horns that point inwards at the tip but those of males are larger.
Uncontrolled hunting and habitat destruction have most probably eliminated this species from its historic range in Sudan (East 1999). It still occupies substantial parts of its historical range in Djibouti, Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, but at lower densities and as isolated populations; numbers in the Ogaden are greatly reduced due to uncontrolled hunting (Wilhelmi et al. 2006).
Habitat and Ecology
Endemic to the Horn of Africa Soemmerring's Gazelle occurs in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan. This species favors rough, hilly country and semi-arid grasslands, often with scattered Acacia trees and bushes.
Prey: predators include cheetahs, lions, leopards, hunting dogs, hyenas and pythons
Life History and Behavior
Soemmerring's Gazelles feed primarily on grasses; their narrow muzzle and mobile lips enable them to be selective in their choice of high-quality grasses. Predators of Soemmerring's Gazelle include cheetahs, lions, leopards, hunting dogs, hyenas and even pythons.
Historically, Soemmerring's Gazelles gathered in herds of many hundreds during seasonal migrations. Today, this gazelle is seldom seen in groups composed of more than 15 individuals. Territorial adult males establish territories, and associate with visiting groups of females and young.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Nanger soemmerringii
Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.
Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Nanger soemmerringii
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1994Vulnerable(Groombridge 1994)
- 1990Vulnerable(IUCN 1990)
- 1988Vulnerable(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
- 1986Vulnerable(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
IUCN Status: VULNERABLE
Current estimates are: Somalia <1,000?; Djibouti 1,000 to 1,500; Ethiopia <3,000; Eritrea <1,000?; Sudan probably extirpated; Kenya no longer occurs. These figures suggest a total current population of <6,000 to 6,500 individuals.
The population in Djibouti can probably be considered stable over recent years or may even be slightly increasing. However, for Ethiopia (Ogaden), Somalia and Sudan the decline must have been drastic over the past 50 years. Detailed estimates of numbers in Eritrea and other parts of Ethiopia are lacking, but there is no indication that they are common anywhere in Ethiopia, especially considering the turmoil in the past 20 years in this region.
Soemmerring’s Gazelle is threatened by destruction of habitat by livestock overgrazing and agricultural development, but hunting may have also played a significant role. This species has been exterminated from much of its historical range, and remaining populations are fragmented.
- Somali Soemmerring's gazelle N. s. berberana
- Sudan Soemmerring's gazelle N. s. soemmeringii
- Borani Soemmerring's gazelle N. s. butteri
Soemmerring's gazelle is a tall gazelle with tan flanks, gradually turning to white on the belly, and long black horns. They are about 75-90 cm (2.5–3.0 ft) at the shoulder, and they weigh 35–45 kg (77-99 lb). The diet of the gazelle consists of acacia and bush leaves, grasses, and herbs. They inhabit open steppes with brush and acacia, as well as steppes with few trees, and scientists suggest the males are temporarily territorial. The lifespan for this animal is up to 14 years.
In many parts of North Africa and the Middle East, large stone corrals were constructed to drive herds of gazelle into, making for an easy ambush. This method of hunting started in prehistoric time, and continued into the early part of the 20th century. At some point in history, a Soemmerring's gazelle population became isolated on Dahlak Kebir island in the Dahlak Archipelag, where the gazelle actually developed a dwarf form of the larger mainland races.
Most species of gazelles have been hunted for food over the course of history. Soemmerring's gazelles are very understudied due to their small numbers. In parts of their former range they are extinct due to hunting and habitat destruction. Soemmerring's and Grant's gazelles' outward appearance are so similar, they are often mistaken for each other where their ranges overlap.
- Heckel, J.-O., Wilhelmi, F., Kaariye, X.Y., Rayaleh, H.A., Amir, O.G. & Künzel, T. (2008). "Nanger soemmerringii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- Chiozzi, G.; Bardelli, G.; Ricci, M.; De Marchi, G.; Cardini, A. (2014). "Just another island dwarf? Phenotypic distinctiveness in the poorly known Soemmerring's Gazelle, Nanger soemmerringii (Cetartiodactyla: Bovidae), of Dahlak Kebir Island". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 111 (3): 603–620. doi:10.1111/bij.12239.
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