Red List of South African Species

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Vulnerable (VU)
Assessors: Michael Samways
Contributors: Frank Suhling
Facilitators: Dewidine Van Der Colff
Reviewers: Domitilla Raimondo


Both within and outside the southern Africa region, this species has a wide range and is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for a threat or Near Threatened category. It is assessed as Least Concern globally. Within South Africa, there is evidence that suggests that the species is highly prone to El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events interacting with natural as well as indirect human activities (fencing in game and domestic livestock). Within South Africa it has been lost from sites where it occurred (e.g. southern Kruger National Park) in 2015, however it might return in years to come. This species has a restricted range within South Africa ranging in area of occupancy (AOO) of 16 km2 to 20 km2 (calculated using a 2 km2 grid) and ranging in extent of occurrence (EOO) of 4,553 km2 to 12,092 km2 and is known from three to four locations. The species qualifies as Endangered B1ab(iii)c(iii,iv)+2ab(iii)c(iii,iv). However, since this is a regional assessment at the national level and the species is listed as Least Concern globally, as well as having a continuous distribution and knowing immigration to the South African population is possible, a regional adjustment is implemented and the species is assessed as Vulnerable B1ab(iii)c(iii,iv)+2ab(iii)c(iii,iv).


Within the southern Africa region, this species is widespread but not often locally common in the tropical north and southwards to northern KwaZulu-Natal. It occurs in the arid areas of eastern/north South Africa, as well as Botswana and Namibia. In South Africa, there have been periodic records from the Kruger National Park, and northern KwaZulu-Natal, as well as Swaziland. Globally, the species is recorded from South Africa, north to Ethiopia and Gambia.

Population trend


First recorded in South Africa in 1951, it was not seen for many years despite many searches (Samways 2008). In recent years, occasional individuals have been recorded, but sites are unpredictable (Samways and Simaika 2016). This species have an extreme fluctuating number of locations and subpopulations due to its interactions with droughts and other climatic events. Currently there are no known extant subpopulations in South Africa, but it may well re-appear in years to come from neighbouring areas.


Evidence suggests El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events play a role as might be global climate change. Natural and indirect human activities (fencing in game) appear to be having an effect. Drought events interacting with increased visitation to water holes and pools by wild mega-herbivores which in the past would have left for higher ground in times of drought and so would not have impacted on the population. There is also potential pressure from domestic livestock outside protected areas.


No action is in place across its range, but it has been recorded in the past in the Kruger National Park.

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