Conservation status

Overall, the Neotraginae are a widespread and common group. Members of this group such as the Kirk's dikdik (Madoqua kirkii) occur at densities beyond that of any other antelope. Contrary to expectation, some species have increased locally as a result of human alterations of the habitat such as forest clearing and livestock grazing. However, all members of this group are heavily hunted and decline in areas where human densities are high. The healthiest populations and thus, species, are those that occur in protected areas or where human densities are low. The small and shrinking distribution of the beira (Dorcatragus megalotis), silver dikdik (Madoqua piacentinii), Cape grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis), and the royal and dwarf antelopes make these species the greatest concerns for conservation among the Neotraginae.

Total population estimates range from the tens of thousand for five species to the high hundreds of thousands for the Kirk's dikdik. Of the 13 species in this group, populations of only two are estimated to be stable. Primary causes for decline across all species in this group are overhunting and habitat loss or degradation resulting from agriculture and overgrazing of livestock. Together, these factors are rapidly reducing the once contiguous distributions of many of these species into a collection of fragments.

A male steenbok (Raphicerus campestris) eats leaves from the mopane tree in Etosha National Park in Namibia (Photo by Jen & Des Bartlett. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)
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