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Beira

Male Female Juvenile
Pair Group Juvenile

Dorcatragus megalotis (Menges, 1894)

French: Le Beira; Le Dorcatrague
German: Beira


Endemic subspecies

There are no endemic subspecies.


Description

Total length: 76 - 87 cm
Tail length: 5 - 8 cm
Shoulder height: 50 - 76 cm
Weight: 9 - 12 kg
Gestation: ~ 6 months

The long-legged and long-necked Beira is a "kudu in small format", with enormous ears. The vertical, upright horns (9-13 cm) only appear in the .
The females are slightly larger than the males.


Distribution

Confined to stony barren hills and mountains in N Somalia, S Djibouti, NE-Ethiopia (Marmar mountains)?


Ecology

Close to stony ridges, gorges and plateau margins (where the Beira can make a quick get-away and break contact with potential predators). The extensive fields of finely fragmented stone in which it lives support scattered bushes but most plant growth is dwarfed or stunted and grows in the shelter of crevices, hugging very close to ground level. It prefers dry and inhospitable hills and mountains at a height of 1.000 to 2.000 m and tolerates temperatures up to 50°C. Water requirements are mainly covered by food. They feed on leaves, herbs or coarse grass. Beiras live in pairs or family groups of up to 7 individuals. Birthing takes place in spring (March, April).


Conservation Status

This species is one of the rarest in Africa. The beira's limited range, the absence of any protected areas within it, uncontrolled hunting, habitat degradation and competition from goats must all prejudice its long-term survival. It was thought to have made a slow recovery after dying in large numbers during the very severe 1975 drought. Nonetheless, its extreme specialisation for a very difficult and marginal habitat should continue to favour its survival for some time. It is very rare in Djibouti. The only known viable captive breeding group is held in a private collection at Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (Qatar).

IUCN Red List Category, ver 3.1:

Trend: Decreasing

No current data available for the Ethiopian and N Somali population, but likely to be decreasing. The beira population in Djibouti seems to be stable at a low level, but in a very localised area. Competition for browse with livestock and the risk of disease transmission as results of intensive livestock herding, deforestation and hunting may become the major problems for the long-term conservation of this species. Further, genetic isolation might lead to a decline of a viable population. The recent settling of traditionally nomadic shepherds in the southern mountains of Aser-Jog in Djibouti has enhanced the pressure exerted by humans and their livestock on the flora and fauna.

Ex situ programs/Collection plans:

EAZA RCP status:

  • ??

AZA RCP status:

  • ??

 

Recommendations

There are no protected areas within beira range or active in-situ conservation programmes for the species. It is important to raise public awareness among local people for Djibouti‟s nature treasure. The most important conservation measure is the maintenance of the hunting ban. A proposal has been submitted to the government of Djibouti for the creation of a protected area in the southern mountains of Aser-Jog and to continue further research on this emblematic antelope. There is a successful captive-breeding population at Al Wabra, Qatar.


Literature

Dorst J & Dandelot P (1970): Larger Mammals of Africa, Collins Field Guide, London.

East R (1999): African Antelope Databese 1998. IUCN/SSC Antelope Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Giotto N, Laurant A, Mohamed N, Prevot N & Gerard J-F (2008): Observations on the behaviour and ecology of a threatened and poorly known dwarf antelope: the beira. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 9 pp.

Giotto N, Mohamed N, Laurent A, Prevot N & Gerard J-F (2006): LE BEIRA: UNE ESPECES A VALEUR PATRIMONIALE MENACEE PAR LA CHEVRE DOMISTIQUE? CERD Magazine, Revue 19(6): 33-46.

Giotto N, Obsieh D, Joachim J & Gerard J-F (2009): The population size and distribution of the Vulnerable beira antelope Dorcatragus megalotis in Djibouti. Oryx, 43(4): 552–555.

Haltenorth T & Diller H (1977): Saeugetiere Afrikas und Madagaskars, BLV Verlagsgesellschaft, Muenchen.

Hammer C (2009): The breeding patterns of the Beira antelope. EAZA News (65): 18-19.

Hammer C & Hammer S (2004): Daten zur Fortpflanzung und Jugendentwicklung der Beira Antilope (Dorcatragus megalotis). unpublish., 08: 21 pp.

Heckel J-O, Künzel T, Künzel S & Rayaleh HA (2004): Status of the Beira antelope in the Republic of Djibouti. Report to  the IUCN/SSC/ASG/Regional Subgroup for Northeast Africa, 2: 1-6.

Heckel J-O & Rayaleh HA (2008): Status of wild ungulates in Djibouti. Report in Woodfine T & Wacher T: Ninth Annual Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group meeting, 19-24. 

Kingdon J (1997): The Kingdon Field Guide To African Mammals, Academic Press, San Diego.

Künzel T & Künzel S (1998): An Overlooked Population of the Beira Antelope Dorcatragus megalotis in Djibouti. Oryx, 32(1): 75.

Künzel T et al. (2001): Status Survey on Djibouti Wildlife. Gnusletter, 1: 19-23.

Künzel T, Künzel S & Rayaleh HA (2001): Djibouti. IUCN-ASG Antelope Survey Update, 2(8): 23-28.

Laurent A & Laurent D (2002): Djibouti - Les mammifères d'híer à aujrd'hui por demain. Ed. BEIRA. CFP. Toulouse.

Laurant A, Prévot N & Mallet B (2001): Original data in ecology, behaviour, status, historic and present distribution of the Beira Dorcatragus megalotis (Bovidae : Antilopinae) in the Republic of Djibouti and adjacent territories of Somalia and Ethiopia. Mammalia, 66(1): 1-16.

Rayaleh HA, Heckel J-O, Hammer S, Hammer C & Künzel T (2006): Statut de l'antilope Beira (Dorcatragus megalotis) en Republique de Djibouti. CERD Magazine, Revue 19(6): 27-31.

Stuart C & Stuart T (2000): Field guide to larger mammals of Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

Wilson DE & Reeeder DM (2005): Mammal species of the world. A taxonomic and geographic reference. Third Ed., Vol. 1 The John Hopkins University Press, Balitmore.


Links

http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Dorcatragus_megalotis.html

http://awwp.alwabra.com/index.php/content/view/12/34/

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