Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

A grazing animal, Lichtenstein's hartebeest depends almost exclusively on grasses for food (4). Its long, slender snout may allow it to select better quality leaves from amongst the poorer quality, wiry grasses prevalent in its habitat (7). It may also have digestive adaptations allowing it to get greater benefit from these poorer quality grasses (7). Interestingly, it seems to prefer grasses and vegetation that have been burnt (3). It is strongly dependent on the availability of a surface water source, drinking daily (3), hence its preference for areas of high rainfall and waterlogged ground (3) (7). While some nocturnal feeding does take place, it is mostly active during the cooler periods of the day, in the morning and late afternoon (3) (4). Herds consist of either non-territorial, bachelor males, or a single, territorial adult male and six or seven adult females along with their offspring (4). The territorial adults occupy an area of around 2.5 square kilometres, usually incorporating better quality grazing and forcing the bachelor herds to inhabit the less suitable grazing areas (4). Territorial males will fiercely defend their territory, with the ensuing fights often leaving the animals wounded, occasionally resulting in death (3). At 16 to 18 months the females become sexually mature and leave the parent herd to join the herd of a territorial male. Breeding is seasonal, with most births taking place during the dry season around August (3) (7). After a gestation period of 240 days, the calves are born, and at this time, as an anti-predator mechanism, the territorial system may dissolve, leading to much larger herds. As a further protection against predation, births take place at roughly the same time within the herd (3). Interestingly, the mother, while grazing or drinking, makes little attempt to conceal her calf; it is simply bedded down in the open (3).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Description

Once the most widespread of all hartebeest, this distinctive antelope was found throughout much of southern Africa (3). Like its relative, the common hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus), Lichtenstein's hartebeest has a long, slender head, elongated, pointed ears, long legs and a reasonably bulky body, with the shoulders set higher than the rump (4). In contrast with the diversity of colouring found between the subspecies of common hartebeest, coat colour varies little between individuals of this species. It is generally a yellow-fawn or pale reddish-fawn, with a darker “saddle” area extending from the base of the tail, across the back to the shoulders (3) (4). The flanks and, in particular, the rump are lighter in colour, while the lower legs are also generally pale except for a black stripe running down the front (2) (4). The horns of Lichtenstein's hartebeest are distinctly ringed, except at the tips, and curve back from the head in an S-shape (3) (4). This species is notable for making an unusual “sneeze-snort” alarm call that serves to warn other herd members of danger (3).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Range

It is likely that populations of Lichtenstein's hartebeest once found stretched from western and southern regions of Tanzania all the way down to northern parts of South Africa (5). Today, however, populations are scattered, with substantial populations only found within Tanzania and Zambia. It is also present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi and Mozambique and populations have been reintroduced to Zimbabwe and South Africa (5). The species is sadly extinct in Burundi and Swaziland (6) and, though it is still uncertain, it is likely that it is now also extinct in Angola (5).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lichtenstein's hartebeest inhabits open woodland, preferring short to medium length grass cover and avoiding longer grasses. It favours flatter areas prone to seasonal waterlogging (7).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group

Reviewer/s
Mallon, D.P. (Antelope Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment)

Contributor/s

Justification
Though Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest is highly vulnerable to poaching, and its long-term survival is closely linked to the continuation of effective protection of its populations in areas such as Selous Game Reserve and the other key areas for this species in western and southern Tanzania and Zambia, most of these populations are stable. The status will not change as long as these areas generally continue to support healthy, stable populations.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Status

Classified as Lower Risk /Conservation Dependent (LR/cd) on the IUCN Red List (1).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population Trend
Stable
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

The main threat to Lichtenstein's hartebeest is uncontrolled hunting for its meat. Along with habitat degradation, this has led to the dramatic decrease in its range and extinction in certain areas, such as Burundi (1) (7). Despite many of the remaining populations of Lichtenstein's hartebeest being found in protected areas, such as Game Reserves and National Parks, poor enforcement of protective measures has meant that in some places poaching remains a significant problem (5).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation

While no specific conservation measures exist at the present time, in the 1980s, efforts were made to introduce the species into National Parks in Zimbabwe and South Africa. In Kruger National Park, South Africa over 100 captive-bred animals were released in the period 1990 to 1994. Subsequent monitoring in the period 1995 to 1998 revealed that a population of about 40 individuals still survived there (5). Large, stable populations do exist in parts of Tanzania and Zambia, with populations in these countries recorded during 1998 at over 25,940 and 9,710 respectively (5). One notable conservation success story has been the North Luangwa Conservation Project in Zambia, where strong law enforcement measures managed to help discourage poaching from the North Luangwa National Park, an area which supports a large population of Lichtenstein's hartebeest (5) (8). The future of Lichtenstein's hartebeest would seem positive, so long as protective measures in National Parks and Game Reserves are enforced, so that larger populations remain stable (5).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Lichtenstein's hartebeest

Lichtenstein's hartebeest (Alcelaphus lichtensteinii)[2] is a savannah- and floodplain-dwelling antelope found in southern Central Africa. By some, this species is classified as Sigmoceros lichtensteinii.

Lichtenstein's hartebeest typically stand about 1.25 m (4 ft) at the shoulder and have a mass of around 150 kg (330 lb). Lichtenstein's hartebeest are a red brown colour, which is lighter on the underbelly. The horns found on both sexes appear from the side to be shaped like the letter 'S', and appear from the front to be shaped like the letter 'O' with its upper portions missing. The horns are slightly ridged and reach over 0.5 m in length.

Lichtenstein's hartebeest live on savannas and floodplains where they eat grasses. They are diurnal (active in the day). They gather in herds of five to 15 females and calves with a single male, which leads them. The male stands sentry duty on termite mounds and the like. Males hold large territories, which they mark by digging up soil with their horns around the borders. Lichtenstein's hartebeest have good eyesight but a poor sense of smell. Their main sounds are a bellow and a sneeze-snort sound.

It derives its name from zoologist Martin Lichtenstein.

References

  1. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Alcelaphus buselaphus ssp. lichtensteinii. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 18 January 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
  2. ^ Wilson, Don E. & Reeder, DeeAnn M. (editors). 2005. Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed), Johns Hopkins University Press, 2,142 pp. Available online
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!