Is the gerenuk endangered? Yes, because of human activity.

Here are two wonderful photographs of the gerenuk. As you can guess from the photographs, this interesting species of antelope is also known as the giraffe gazelle. You can see them standing on their hind legs in a perfectly vertical position feeding on high branches which would have been out of reach to a normal antelope. They are found in the Horn of Africa and the dryer parts of East Africa. They are characterised by their extraordinarily long neck, an elegant anatomical feature created over eons of evolution.

But as is commonplace for most wild species in Africa, their existence is threatened by human activity. The known threats listed which were applicable almost 5 years ago and which may need updating are:

  • Livestock farming and ranching;
  • Hunting and trapping terrestrial animals;
  • Logging and wood harvesting;
  • War, civil unrest and military exercises.

It’s habitat is being destroyed by the cutting of trees for firewood and charcoal. Civil conflicts and unrest have affected much of its range in Somalia and the Ogaden over the past decades.

The species is predicted to disappear from large parts of its current distribution at which time they will be restricted to protected and managed areas. These areas will represent a very small part of its present range. Currently, the largest protected population is in Tsavo National Park. Also, agricultural expansion has encroach on their habitat in the southern Massai steppe. Most of the areas where it is found are too arid to support agriculture which may help to protect it.

It’s population is decreasing. The experts don’t know the number of mature adults and they don’t know whether there will be a continuing decline of mature individuals.

The gerenuk is currently found in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and the United Republic of Tanzania.

The map tells you where they live which is taken from the IUCN Red List. I am sure that they won’t mind.

Gerenuck distribution as at 2021
Gerenuck distribution as at 2021. Map: IUCN Red List.


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