|Coke's hartebeest in the Serengeti National Park, Kenya|
|Distribution of the subspecies|
The hartebeest, also known as kongoni, is an African antelope, first described by the German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas in 1766. Eight subspecies have been described, including two sometimes considered independent species. A large antelope, the hartebeest stands just over 1 m (3.3 ft) at the shoulder, and has a typical head-and-body length of 150 to 245 cm (59 to 96 in). The weight ranges from 75 to 200 kg (165 to 441 lb). It has a particularly elongated forehead and oddly-shaped horns, short neck, and pointed ears. Its legs, which often have black markings, are unusually long. The coat is generally short and shiny. Coat colour varies by the subspecies, from the sandy brown of the western hartebeest to the chocolate brown of the Swayne's hartebeest. Both sexes of all subspecies have horns, with those of females being more slender. Horns can reach lengths of 45–70 cm (18–28 in). Apart from its long face, the large chest and the sharply sloping back differentiate the hartebeest from other antelopes.
Gregarious animals, hartebeest form herds of 20 to 300 individuals. They are very alert and non-aggressive. They are primarily grazers, with their diets consisting mainly of grasses, with small amounts of Hyparrhenia grasses and legumes throughout the year. The time of mating varies seasonally, and depends on both the subspecies and the population. Hartebeest are sexually mature at one to two years of age. Mating in hartebeest takes place throughout the year, with one or two peaks. Both males and females reach sexual maturity at one to two years of age. Gestation is eight to nine months long, after which a single calf is born. Births usually peak in the dry season. The lifespan is 11 to 20 years in the wild and up to 19 years in captivity.
Inhabiting dry savannas and wooded grasslands, hartebeest often move to more arid places after rainfall. They have been reported from altitudes on Mount Kenya up to 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The hartebeest was formerly widespread in Africa, but populations have undergone drastic decline due to habitat destruction, hunting, human settlement, and competition with livestock for food. Each of the eight subspecies of the hartebeest has a different conservation status. The Bubal hartebeest was declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1994. While the populations of the red hartebeest are on the rise, those of the Tora hartebeest, already Critically Endangered, are falling. The hartebeest is extinct in Algeria, Egypt, Lesotho, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, and Tunisia; but has been introduced into Swaziland and Zimbabwe. It is a popular game animal due to its highly regarded meat.
The vernacular name "hartebeest" could have originated from the obsolete Afrikaans word hertebeest, while another supposed origin of the name is from the combination of the Dutch words hart (deer) and beest (beast). The name was given by the Boers, based on the resemblance of the antelope to deer. The first use of the word "hartebeest" in South African literature was in Dutch colonial administrator Jan van Riebeeck's journal Daghregister in 1660. He wrote: "Meester Pieter ein hart-beest geschooten hadde (Master Pieter [van Meerhoff] had shot one hartebeest)". Another name for the hartebeest is kongoni, a Swahili word. Kongoni is often used to refer in particular to Coke's hartebeest, a subspecies of the hartebeest.
The scientific name of the hartebeest is Alcelaphus buselaphus. It was first described by German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas in 1766. It is classified in the genus Alcelaphus and placed in the family Bovidae. In 1979, palaeontologist Elisabeth Vrba supported Sigmoceros as a separate genus for Lichtenstein's hartebeest, a type of hartebeest with unclear taxonomic status, based on its close affinity to Connochaetes (wildebeest). She had analysed the skull characters of living and extinct species of antelope to make a cladogram., and that a wide skull linked Lichtenstein's hartebeest with Connochaetes. However, this finding was not replicated by Gentry. She later dissolved the new genus later in 1997 after reconsideration. An MtDNA analysis could find no evidence to support a separate genus. It also showed the tribe Alcelaphini to be monophyletic, and discovered close affinity between the Alcelaphus and the sassabies (genus Damaliscus)—both genetically and morphologically.
A. lichtensteinii, has been classified as a subspecies of A. buselaphus by zoologists Jonathan Kingdon and Theodor Haltenorth, but was placed by Vrba in a separate genus Sigmoceros. Another author, Alan W. Gentry (of the Natural History Museum, London), placed it as an independent species in Alcelaphus in 1990.
Eight subspecies are identified, of which two—A. b. caama and A. lichtensteinii—are often considered as independent species. However, a 1999 genetic study sampling the control region of the mitochondrial DNA by Arctander and colleagues found that these two formed a clade within A. buselaphus, and that recognising these as species would render A. buselaphus paraphyletic (an unnatural grouping). The same study found A. b. major to be the most divergent, before the lineage split to a common caama/lichtensteinii lineage and another that gave rise to the remaining extant subspecies. Conversely a 2001 phylogenetic study, based on D–loop and cytochrome b analysis by Flagstad and colleagues found that the southern lineage of A. b. caama and A. lichtensteinii diverged earliest. Analysis of skull structure supports partition into three major divisions: A. b. buselaphus division (nominate, also including A. b. major division), A. b. tora division (also including A. b. cokii and A. b. swaynei) and A. b. lelwel division. An analysis of cytochrome b and D-loop sequence data shows a notable affinity between the A. b. lelwel and A. b. tora divisions.
- † A. b. buselaphus (Pallas, 1766) : Known as the Bubal hartebeest or northern hartebeest. Formerly occurred across northern Africa, from Morocco to Egypt. It was exterminated by the 1920s. It was declared extinct in 1994 by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
- A. b. caama (Saint-Hilaire, 1803) : Known as the red hartebeest or Cape hartebeest. Formerly occurred in southern Angola; northern and eastern savannahs of Namibia; central, southern and southwestern Botswana; Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free State, Northwest and Gauteng provinces and western KwaZulu-Natal of South Africa. Presently has been eliminated from all these areas except Northern Cape, central and southwestern Botswana and Namibia. Major re-introductions have taken place in these countries. The population of this hartebeest is on the rise.
- A. b. cokii (Günther, 1884): Known as Coke's hartebeest or kongoni. Native to and confined within Kenya and northern Tanzania.
- A. b. lelwel (Heuglin, 1877) : Known as the Lelwel hartebeest. Formerly found in northern and northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo; southeastern and southwestern Sudan; and the northwestern extreme of Tanzania. Drastic population decrease since the 1980s has confined most individuals to protected areas inside and outside its range.
- A. b. lichtensteinii (Peters, 1849) : Known as Lichtenstein's hartebeest. Inhabits the miombo woodlands of eastern and southern Africa. It is native to Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- A. b. major (Blyth, 1869) : Known as the western hartebeest. Formerly occurred widely in Mali, Niger, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, southwestern Chad, Cameroon, western Central African Republic and Benin. Nowadays it occurs in much lower numbers mainly in protected areas of these countries. It is probably extinct in Gambia.
- A. b. swaynei (Sclater, 1892) : Known as Swayne's hartebeest. Restricted to the southern Rift Valley in Ethiopia. It formerly occurred throughout the Rift Valley, and its range extended eastward into northwestern Somalia. It has disappeared from Somalia by 1930. Its populations are very low and on the decline.
- A. b. tora (Gray, 1873) : Known as the Tora hartebeest. Formerly occurred in northwestern Ethiopia and western and southwestern Eritrea. Its present status is unclear, though locals have reported small numbers from these areas.
|Five hartebeest subspecies|
Genetics and hybrids
In 2000, a study scrutinised two major populations of the Swayne's hartebeest, from the Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary and the Nechisar National Park, for mitochondrial (D-loop) and nuclear (microsatellite) variability in an attempt to estimate the levels of genetic variation between the populations and within the subspecies. The results showed a remarkable differentiation between the two populations; that from the Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary showed more genetic diversity than the one from the Nechisar National Park. Another revelation was that the translocation of the individuals from the Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary in 1974 had not made a significant contribution to the gene pool of the Nechisar National Park. Additionally, the Swayne hartebeest populations were compared with a large red hartebeest population, and both subspecies were found to have a high degree of genetic variation. The study emphasised on in situ conservation of the Swayne's hartebeest and a renewed attempt at its translocation in order to conserve genetic diversity and increase its population size in both the protected areas.
The diploid number of chromosomes in the hartebeest is 40. Hybrids are usually reported from areas where ranges of two subspecies overlap. A study proved the male hybrid between the red hartebeest and the blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus) sterile. Sterility of the hybrid was attributed to difficulties in segregation during meiosis of the hybrid, azoospermia and fewer germ cells in the cross-section of the seminiferous tubules. Hybrids between the Lelwel and Tora hartebeest have been reported in eastern Sudan and western Ethiopia, in a stretch southward from the Blue Nile to about 9° N latitude.
There are two common cross-breeds between the subspecies:
- Alcelaphus lelwel x cokii: Known as the Kenya Highland hartebeest or the Laikipia hartebeest. It is a cross between the Lelwel and Coke's hartebeest. This hybrid is lighter in colour and larger than Coke's hartebeest. It is a light buff with reddish-tawny upper parts, and the head is longer than in Coke's hartebeest. Both sexes have horns, which are heavier as well as longer than those of the parents. It was formerly distributed throughout western Kenyan highlands, between Lake Victoria and Mount Kenya, but is now believed to be restricted to the Lambwe Valley (south-west Kenya) and Laikipia and nearby regions of west-central Kenya.
- Alcelaphus lelwel x swaynei : Also known as the Neumann's hartebeest, named after traveller and hunter Arthur Henry Neumann. This is considered to be a cross between the Lelwel hartebeest and Swayne's hartebeest. The face is longer than that of the Swayne's hartebeest. The colour of the coat is a golden brown, paler towards the underparts. The chin has a hint of black and the tail tuft black. Both sexes have longer horns than the Swayne's hartebeest. The horns grow in a wide "V" shape, unlike the wide bracket shape of Swayne's hartebeest and the narrow "V" of Lelwel hartebeest, curving backward and slightly inward. It occurs in Ethiopia, in a small area to the east of Omo River and north of Lake Turkana, stretching north-east of Lake Chew Bahir to near Lake Chamo.
- The Jackson's hartebeest does not have a clear taxonomic status. The first record of this hartebeest was at the Bronx Zoo (USA) in 1913. It is regarded as a hybrid between the Lelwel and Coke's hartebeest. The African Antelope Database (1998) treats it as synonymous to the Lelwel hartebeest. This hartebeest occurs where the ranges of the Lelwel and Coke's hartebeest overlap - from western Kenya through Karamoja district (north-western Uganda). It is common in Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley. From Lake Baringo to Moun Kenya, the Jackson's hartebeest significantly resembles the Lelwel hartebeest, whereas from Lake Victoria to the southern part of the Rift Valley it tends to be more like the Coke's hartebeest.
The genus Alcelaphus emerged about 4.4 million years ago in a clade consisting of Damalops, Numidocapra, Rabaticeras, Megalotragus, Oreonagor, and Connochaetes as the other members. An analysis using phylogeographic patterns within hartebeest populations suggested a possible origin of the antelope in eastern Africa. Alcelaphus quickly radiated across the African savannas, replacing several previous forms (such as a relative of the hirola). Flagstad and colleagues showed an early split in the hartebeest populations into two distinct lineages around 0.5 million years ago - one to the north and the other to the south of the equator. The northern lineage further diverged into eastern and western lineages, nearly 0.4 million years ago, most probably as a result of the expanding central African rainforest belt and subsequent contraction of savannah habitats during a period of global warming. The eastern lineage gave rise to the Coke's, Swayne's, Tora and Lelwel hartebeest; and from the western lineage evolved the Bubal and western hartebeest. The southern lineage gave rise to Lichtenstein's and red hartebeest. These two taxa share a particularly close relation, having diverged only 0.2 million years ago. The study concluded that these major events throughout the hartebeest's evolution are strongly related to climatic factors, and that there had been successive bursts of radiation from a more permanent population—a refugium—in eastern Africa; this could be vital to understanding the evolutionary history of not only the hartebeest but also other mammals of the African savannah.
The earliest fossil record dates back to nearly 0.7 million years ago. Fossils of the red hartebeest have been found in Elandsfontein, Cornelia (Free State) and Florisbad in South Africa, as well as in Kabwe in Zambia. In Israel, hartebeest remains were found in northern Negev, Shephelah, Sharon Plain and Tel Lachish. It was originally limited to the open country of the southernmost regions of southern Levant. The hartebeest was probably hunted in Egypt, which affected the numbers in Levant, and disconnected it from its main population in Africa.
A large antelope with a particularly elongated forehead and oddly shaped horns, the hartebeest stands just over 1 m (3.3 ft) at the shoulder, and has a typical head-and-body length of 150 to 245 cm (59 to 96 in). The weight ranges from 75 to 200 kg (165 to 441 lb). The tail, 30 to 70 cm (12 to 28 in) long, ends in a black tuft. The other distinctive features of the hartebeest are its long legs (often with black markings), short neck, and pointed ears. A study correlated the size of hartebeest species to habitat productivity and rainfall. The western hartebeest is the largest subspecies, and has a characteristic white line between the eyes. The red hartebeest is also large, with a black forehead and a contrasting light band between the eyes. The large Lelwel hartebeest has dark stripes on the front of its legs. Coke's hartebeest is moderately large, with a shorter forehead and longer tail in comparison to the other subspecies. The Lichtenstein hartebeest is smaller, with dark stripes on the front of the legs, as in the Lelwel hartebeest. The Swayne's hartebeest is smaller than the Tora hartebeest, but both have a shorter forehead and similar appearance.
The coat is generally short and shiny. Coat colour varies by the subspecies. The western hartebeest is a pale sandy-brown, but the front of the legs are darker. The red hartebeest is a reddish-brown, with a dark face and several black markings all over its body, that are a sharp contrast to the broad white patches mark its flanks and lower rump. The Lelwel hartebeest is a reddish tan. Coke's hartebeest is reddish to tawny on the upper part of the body, while the dorsal side is relatively lighter. Lichtenstein's hartebeest is reddish brown, though the flanks are a lighter tan and the rump whitish. The Tora hartebeest is a dark reddish brown in the upper part of the body, the face, the forelegs and the rump, but the hindlegs and the underbelly are a yellowish white. The Swayne's hartebeest is a rich chocolate brown with fine spots of white that are actually the white tips of its hairs. Its face is black except for the chocolate band below the eyes. The shoulders and upper part of the legs are black. Fine textured, the body hair of the hartebeest is about 25 mm (0.98 in) long. The hartebeest has preorbital glands (near the eyes) with a central duct, that secrete a dark sticky fluid in Coke's and Lichtenstein's hartebeest, and a colourless fluid in the Lelwel hartebeest.
Both sexes of all species have horns, with those of females being more slender. Horns can reach lengths of 45–70 cm (18–28 in). The horns of the western hartebeest are thick and appear U-shaped from the front and Z-shaped from the sides, growing backward at first and then forward, ending with a sharp backward turn. The horns of the red and the Lelwel hartebeest are similar to those of the western hartebeest, but appear V-shaped when viewed from the front. The Lichtenstein's hartebeest has thick parallel ringed horns, with a flat base. Its horns are shorter than those of other subspecies, curving upward then sharply forward, followed by an inward turn at an angle of about 45° and a final backward turn. The horns of Swayne's hartebeest are thin and shaped like parentheses, curving upward and then backward. The horns of the Tora hartebeest are particularly thin and spread out sideways, diverging more than in any other subspecies.
Apart from its long face, the large chest and the sharply sloping back differentiate the hartebeest from other antelopes. The hartebeest shares several physical traits with the sassabies (genus Damaliscus), such as an elongated and narrow face, shape of the horns, pelage texture and colour, and the terminal tuft of the tail. The wildebeest have more specialised skull and horn features than the hartebeest. The hartebeest exhibits sexual dimorphism, but only slightly, as both sexes bear horns and have similar body masses. The degree of sexual dimorphism varies by subspecies. Males are 8% heavier than females in Swayne's and Lichtenstein's hartebeest, and 23% heavier in the red hartebeest. In one study, the highest dimorphism was found in skull weight. Another study concluded that the length of the breeding season is a good predictor of dimorphism in pedicle (bony structures from which horns grow) height and skull weight, and the best predictor of the horn circumference.
Ecology and behaviour
The hartebeest is active mainly during the daytime. It grazes in the early morning and the late afternoon, and rests in shade during noon. Hartebeest are gregarious, and form herds of up to 300 individuals. Larger numbers gather in places with abundant grass. In 1963, a congregation of 10,000 animals was recorded on the plains near Sekoma Pan in Botswana. Moving herds, however, are not so cohesive, and tend to disperse frequently. The members of a herd can be divided into four groups: territorial adult males, non-territorial adult males, young males, and the females with their young. The females form groups of five to 12 animals, with four generations of young in the group. Females fight for dominance over the herd. Sparring between males and females is common. At three or four years of age, the males can attempt to take over a territory and the female members. A resident male defends its territory and will fight if provoked. The male marks the border of its territory through defecation. Males generally lose their territory after seven or eight years.
Hartebeest are remarkably alert and cautious animals with highly developed brains. Generally calm in nature, hartebeest can be ferocious when provoked. During feeding, one individual stays on the lookout for danger, often standing on a termite mound to see farther. At times of danger, the whole herd flees in single file after one suddenly starts off. Adult hartebeest are preyed upon by lions, leopards, hyenas and wild dogs; cheetahs and jackals attack juveniles. Additionally, Nile crocodiles may also prey on hartebeest.
The hartebeest has several adaptations that allow it to survive even under adverse conditions and in poor habitats. The thin long legs are probably an anti-predator mechanism helpful to animals inhabiting open plains, clearings or grassland-woodland ecotones. The elevated position of the eyes enables the hartebeest to continuously inspect its surroundings even as it is grazing. The mouth is specially adapted to derive maximum nutrition from even a frugal diet. The horns are used for defence from predators, and during fights among males for dominance in the breeding season; the clash of the horns is so loud that it can be heard from hundreds of metres away. The beginning of a fight is marked with a series of head movements and stances, as well as depositing droppings on dung piles. The opponents drop on their knees and, after giving a hammer-like blow, begin wrestling, their horns interlocking. One attempts to fling the head of the other to one side to stab the neck and shoulders with its horns. Fights are rarely serious, but might turn fatal if they are.
Hartebeest, like the sassabies, produce quiet quacking and grunting sounds. Juveniles tend to be more vocal than adults, and produce a quacking call when alarmed or pursued. The hartebeest uses defecation as an olfactory and a visual display. Herds are generally sedentary, and tend to migrate only under adverse conditions such as natural calamities. The hartebeest is the least migratory in the tribe Alcelaphini (which also includes wildebeest and sassabies), and also consumes the least amount of water and has the lowest metabolic rate among the members of the tribe.
Several parasites have been isolated from the hartebeest. Parasites in the hartebeest generally alternate between living off gazelles and wildebeest. A red hartebeest from the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park was found to host species of Cooperia, Impalaia nudicollis, Parabronema, and Trichostrongylus. In a study, nine Lichtenstein's hartebeest were sampled for Oestrinae. Larvae of Gedoelstia, Oestrus and Kirkioestrus species were isolated from the nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses. A maximum of 252 larvae were found in the head of one animal, but no pathogenicity was found. In another case, a red hartebeest was infected with theileriosis due to parasites of Rhipicephalus evertsi and Theileria species.
South of the Sahara, the hartebeest can be infested by Loewioestrus variolosus, Gedoelstia cristata and G. hassleri. The latter two species can cause serious diseases such as encephalitis. In the 1960s, Robustostrongylus aferensis, an abomasal nematode, was discovered in a hartebeest from Uganda. Nematodes such as Haemonchus contortus, Trichostrongylus axei and Cooperia curticei; cestodes Moniezia expansa, Avitellina centripunctata, and Stilesia globipunctata; paramphistomes and Setaria labiato-papillosa were found in the digestive tract of a western hartebeest.
In 1931, a red hartebeest in Gobabis (south-western Africa) was infected with long, thin worms. These were named Longistrongylus meyeri after their collector, T. Meyer, and proposed to be placed in the genus Longistrongylus.
Hartebeest are primarily grazers, and their diets consist mostly of grasses. They eat Hyparrhenia grasses and legumes in small amounts throughout the year. A study in the Nazinga Game Ranch in Burkina Faso found that the hartebeest's skull structure eased the acquisition and chewing of highly fibrous foods. The hartebeest has much lower food intake than the other members of Alcelaphini. The long thin muzzle of the hartebeest assists in feeding on leaf blades of grass swards and nibble off leaf sheaths from grass stems. In addition to this, it can derive nutritious food even from tall senile grasses. These adaptations of the hartebeest enable the animal to feed well even in the dry season, which is usually a difficult period for grazers. For instance, in comparison with the roan antelope, the hartebeest is better at procuring and chewing the scarce regrowth of perennial grasses at times when forage is least available. These unique abilities could possibly be a strong reason that allowed the hartebeest to prevail over other animals millions of years ago, which eventually led to its successful radiation in Africa.
Grasses generally comprise at least 80 percent of the hartebeest's diet, but they account for over 95 percent of their food in the wet season, October to May. Jasminium kerstingii is part of the hartebeest's diet at the start of the rainy season. Between seasons, they mainly feed on the culms of grasses. A study found that the hartebeest can digest a larger quantity of food than topi and wildebeest. In areas with scarce water, it can survive on melons, roots, and tubers.
In a study of grass selectivity among the wildebeest, zebra, and the Coke's hartebeest, the hartebeest showed the highest selectivity. All animals preferred Themeda triandra over Pennisetum mezianum and Digitaria macroblephara. More grass species were eaten in the dry season than in the wet season.
Mating in hartebeest takes place throughout the year, with one or two peaks. Peaks can be influenced by the availability of food. Both males and females reach sexual maturity at one to two years of age. Reproduction depends on the subspecies and population at the time of mating. Mating takes place in the territories defended by a single male, mostly in open areas on plateaus or ridges. The males can fight fiercely for dominance. The dominant male smells the female's genitalia, and follows her if she is in oestrus. Sometimes a female in oestrus holds out her tail slightly to signal her receptivity. The male tries to block the female's way. She may eventually stop and allow the male to mount her. Copulation occurs in a short time, and is often repeated, sometimes twice or more a minute. Any intruder at this time is chased away. In large herds, the female mates with several males.
Gestation is eight to nine months long, after which a single calf is born. Births usually peak in the dry season. Births take place in thickets, unlike wildebeest, which give birth in groups on the plains. The newborn weighs about 9 kg (20 lb). Though calves can move about on their own shortly after birth, they usually lie in the open in close proximity of their mothers. The offspring is weaned at four months. A male offspring accompanies his mother for two and a half years, longer than in others in Alcelaphini. Often the mortality rate of male juveniles is high, as they have to face the aggression of territorial adult males and are also deprived of good forage by them. The lifespan is 11 to 20 years in the wild and up to 19 years in captivity.
Hartebeest inhabit dry savannas, open plains and wooded grasslands, often moving into more arid places after rainfall. They are more tolerant of wooded areas than others in Alcelaphini, and are often found on the edge of woodlands. They have been reported from altitudes on Mount Kenya up to 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The red hartebeest is known to move across large areas, and females roam home ranges of over 1,000 km2 (390 sq mi) area, with male territories 200 km2 (77 sq mi) in size. Females in the Nairobi National Park (Kenya) have individual home ranges stretching over 3.7–5.5 km2 (1.4–2.1 sq mi), which are not particularly associated with any one female group. Average female home ranges are large enough to include even twenty to thirty male territories.
Status and conservation
Each hartebeest subspecies is listed under a different conservation status by the IUCN. The species on the whole is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. The hartebeest is extinct in Algeria, Egypt, Lesotho, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, and Tunisia.
- The Bubal hartebeest has been declared extinct since 1994. German explorer Heinrich Barth, in his works of 1857, cites firearms and European intrusion among the reasons for the decrease in its numbers. It was extinct in Tunisia by the late 19th century. The last individual was shot in Missour (Algeria) in 1925.
- Coke's hartebeest is listed as Least Concern. This species has been greatly affected by habitat destruction, and about 42,000 Coke's hartebeest occur today in Mara, Serengeti National Park, and Tarangire National Park in Tanzania and Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. The population is decreasing, and 70% of the population lives in protected areas.
- The Lelwel hartebeest is listed as Endangered, and numbers have declined greatly since the 1980s, when its population was over 285,000. It was formerly distributed mainly in the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, northern and northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo and southern Sudan. Fewer than 70,000 individuals are left. This hartebeest occurs in parts of southern Omo region in Ethiopia. Most of the population nowadays is found mainly in Salamat and Zakouma National Park (Chad), latter of which has witnesses improved protection and increase in population since the 1980s; Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park and Bamingui-Bangoran National Park and Biosphere Reserve in Central African Republic, where the populations have been falling; Rumanyika Orugundu Game Reserve and Ibanda Game Reserve (Tanzania); and Murchison Falls National Park (Uganda).
- Lichtenstein's hartebeest is listed as Least Concern, and occurs in protected areas such as the Selous Game Reserve and in the wild in southern and western Tanzania and Zambia.
- The red hartebeest is listed as Least Concern. It is the most widespread, with increasing numbers after its reintroduction into protected and private areas. However, it has been extinct in Lesotho since the twentieth century. Its population is estimated to be over 130,000 (as of 2008), mostly in southern Africa. In Namibia, the largest population occurs in the Etosha National Park. A reintroduced population is flourishing in the Malolotja Nature Reserve (Swaziland), outside its range. However, numbers have seen a sharp fall in southwestern Botswana.
- Tora hartebeest is listed as Critically Endangered; the IUCN has ascertained that fewer than 250 mature individuals survive (as of 2008). They are possibly extinct in Sudan due to excessive hunting and agricultural expansion, but may still exist in lesser numbers in Eritrea and Ethiopia. There have been unconfirmed reports of sightings of the tora hartebeest southeast of the Dinder National Park by locals, from where this hartebeest had disappeared before 1960.
- Swayne's hartebeest is listed as Endangered, and is close to being Critically Endangered. The total population is less than 600 (as of 2008), of which the mature specimens number within 250, are confined to four major protected areas: the Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary, Nechisar National Park, Awash National Park and Mazie National Park. The hartebeest in Senkele have to compete with the livestock of the Oromo people. A study in the Nechisar National Park during 2009 and 2010 found a considerable increase in the livestock of the Oromos (49.9% and 56.5% increase during 2006 and 2010, respectively), illegal resource exploitation, and habitat loss as major threats to the Swayne's hartebeest populations there.
- The western hartebeest is listed as Near Threatened It has been eliminated from most of its range, including the southwestern savannas and Boucle du Baoulé National Park in Mali; southwestern Niger; southern Senegal; Gambia; Ivory Coast; Burkina Faso. Small populations survive in Bafing National Park and the area bounded by Bamako, Bougouni and Sikasso in Mali; Tamou Reserve in Niger; Niokolo-Koba National Park in Senegal; Comoé National Park in Ivory Coast; Diefoula forest and Nazinga Game Ranch in Burkina Faso; Pendjari National Park in Benin; and Bouba Njida, Bénoué, Faro National Parks in Cameroon.
Relationship with humans
Hartebeest are popular game and trophy animals due to the highly regarded quality of their meat. The hartebeest is easy to hunt due to its visibility. Pictorial as well as epigraphic evidence from Egypt suggests that in the Upper Palaeolithic age, Egyptians hunted hartebeest and domesticated them. The hartebeest was a prominent source of meat, but its economic significance was lower than that of gazelles and other desert species. However, from the beginning of the Neolithic age, hunting became less common and consequently the remains of the hartebeest from this period in Egypt, where it is extinct now, are rare.
In a study on the effect of place and gender on carcass characteristics, the average carcass weight of the male red hartebeest was 79.3 kg (175 lb) and that of females was 56 kg (123 lb). The meat of the animals from Qua-Qua region had the highest lipid content—1.3 g (0.046 oz) per 100 g (3.5 oz) of meat. Negligible differences were found in the concentrations of individual fatty acids, amino acids, and minerals. The study considered hartebeest meat to be healthy, as the ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acids was 0.78, slightly more than the recommended 0.7.
A 2013 study analysed samples of game meat from South African supermarkets, wholesalers, and other outlets. It was found that some types of biltong labelled "kudu", "springbok", or "ostrich" were made of hartebeest. Of 146 samples, 100 were mislabelled, which revealed severe negligence in meat labelling in South Africa.
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Alcelaphus buselaphus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
- Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 674. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Mares, M. A. (1999). Encyclopedia of Deserts. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-8061-3146-7.
- "Hartebeest". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
- Llewellyn, E.C. (1936). "Chapter XIV The Influence of South African Dutch or Afrikaans on the English Vocabulary". The Influence of Low Dutch on the English Vocabulary. London: Oxford University Press. p. 163.
- Skinner, J. D.; Chimimba, C.T. (2005). The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 649. ISBN 978-0-521-84418-5.
- Kingdon, J. (2013). Mammals of Africa. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 510–22. ISBN 978-1-4081-2257-0.
- "Kongoni". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Swank, W.G. (1971). African Antelope. [New York]: Winchester Press. p. 95. ISBN 9780876910290.
- Nowak, R. M. (1999). Walker's Mammals of the World (6th ed.). Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 1181–3. ISBN 978-0-8018-5789-8.
- Flagstad, Ø.; Syversten, P. O.; Stenseth, N. C.; Jakobsen, K. S. (7 April 2001). "Environmental change and rates of evolution: the phylogeographic pattern within the hartebeest complex as related to climatic variation". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 268 (1468): 667–77. doi:10.1098/rspb.2000.1416. PMID 11321054.
- Vrba, Elisabeth (1979). "Phylogenetic analysis and classification of fossil and recent Alcelaphini Mammalia: Bovidae". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 11 (3): 207–228. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.1979.tb00035.x.
- Gentry, A.W. (2012). Bubenik, George A.; Bubenik, Anthony B., ed. Horns, Pronghorns, and Antlers: Evolution, Morphology, Physiology, and Social Significance. New York, New York: Springer Science & Business Media. p. 216. ISBN 9781461389668.
- Groves, C.; Grubb, P. (2011). Ungulate Taxonomy. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-4214-0093-8.
- Matthee, C. A.; Robinson, T. J. (June 1999). "Cytochrome b phylogeny of the family Bovidae: Resolution within the Alcelaphini, Antilopini, Neotragini, and Tragelaphini". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 12 (1): 31–46. doi:10.1006/mpev.1998.0573. PMID 10222159.
- Arctander, P.; Johansen, C.; Coutellec-Vreto, M.A. (December 1999). "Phylogeography of three closely related African bovids (tribe Alcelaphini)". Molecular biology and evolution 16 (12): 1724–39. PMID 10605114.
- Flagstad, Ø.; Syvertsen, P. O.; Stenseth, N. ChR.; Stacy, J. E.; Olsaker, I.; Røed, K.H.; Jakobsen, K.S. (February 2000). "Genetic variability in Swayne's hartebeest, an endangered antelope of Ethiopia". Conservation Biology 14 (1): 254–64. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.2000.98339.x.
- "Alcelaphus buselaphus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
- East, R.; IUCN/SSC Antelope Specialist Group (1999). African antelope database 1998. Gland, Switzerland: The IUCN Species Survival Commission. pp. 186–93. ISBN 2-8317-0477-4.
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Alcelaphus buselaphus buselaphus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- Mallon, D.P.; Kingswood, S.C. (2001). Antelopes: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. p. 25. ISBN 978-2-8317-0594-1.
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Alcelaphus buselaphus caama. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Rafferty, J. P. (2010). Grazers (1st ed.). New York: Britannica Educational Publications. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-61530-465-3.
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Alcelaphus buselaphus lichtensteini. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- Lewis, J. G.; Wilson, R.T. (1977). "The Plight of Swayne's Hartebeest". Oryx 13 (5): 491–4. doi:10.1017/S0030605300014551.
- Hildyard, A. (2001). Endangered Wildlife and Plants of the World. New York: Marshall Cavendish. pp. 674–5. ISBN 0-7614-7199-5.
- Robinson, T.J.; Morris, D.J.; Fairall, N. (1991). "Interspecific hybridization in the Bovidae: Sterility of Alcelaphus buselaphus × Damaliscus dorcas F1 progeny". Biological Conservation 58 (3): 345–56. doi:10.1016/0006-3207(91)90100-N.
- "Lelwel Hartebeest". Big Game Hunting Records - Safari Club International Online Record Book. Safari Club International. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Castelló, J.R. (2016). Bovids of the World: Antelopes, Gazelles, Cattle, Goats, Sheep, and Relatives. Princeton (USA): Princeton University Press. pp. 537–9. ISBN 978-0-691-16717-6.
- Georgiadis, N. (2011). "Conserving wildlife in African landscapes: Kenya's Ewaso ecosystem". Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology (Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press) (632): 63. ISSN 0081-0282.
- "Kenya Highland Hartebeest". Big Game Hunting Records - Safari Club International Online Record Book. Safari Club International. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Ruxton, A.E.; Schwarz, E. (1929). "On Hybrid hartebeests and on the distribution of the Alcelaphus buselaphus group". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 99 (3): 567–83. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1929.tb07706.x.
- "Neumann Hartebeest". Big Game Hunting Records - Safari Club International Online Record Book. Safari Club International. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Shurter, S.; Beetem, D. "Jackson's hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus jacksoni)" (PDF). Antelope & Giraffe Tag. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- East, R. (1999). African Antelope Database 1998. IUCN. p. 190. ISBN 978-2-8317-0477-7.
- P., Briggs; Roberts, A. (2010). Uganda : The Bradt Travel Guide. (6th ed.). Chalfont St. Peter: Bradt Travel Guides. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-84162-309-2.
- Harris, J.; Leaky, M. (2001). Lothagam: The Dawn of Humanity in Eastern Africa. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 547. ISBN 978-0-231-11870-5.
- Berger, L. R.; Hilton-Barber, B. (2004). Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind : Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai & Environs World Heritage Site (2nd (revised) ed.). Cape Town: Struik. p. 163. ISBN 978-1-77007-065-3.
- Tsahar, E.; Izhaki, I.; Lev-Yadun, S.; Bar-Oz, G.; Hansen, D. M. (2009). "Distribution and extinction of ungulates during the Holocene of the southern Levant". PLoS ONE 4 (4): 5316–28. Bibcode:2009PLoSO...4.5316T. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005316.
- Batty, K. "Alcelaphus buselaphus". University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- Macdonald, D (1987). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 564–71. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.
- Capellini, I.; Gosling, L. M. (2007). "Habitat primary production and the evolution of body size within the hartebeest clade". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 92 (3): 431–40. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.2007.00883.x.
- "Western Hartebeest". Big Game Hunting Records - Safari Club International Online Record Book. Safari Club International. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- "Cape or Red Hartebeest". Big Game Hunting Records - Safari Club International Online Record Book. Safari Club International. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- "Coke Hartebeest". Big Game Hunting Records - Safari Club International Online Record Book. Safari Club International. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- "Lichtenstein Hartebeest". Big Game Hunting Records - Safari Club International Online Record Book. Safari Club International. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- "Swayne Hartebeest". Big Game Hunting Records - Safari Club International Online Record Book. Safari Club International. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Estes, R. D. (2004). The Behavior Guide to African Mammals : Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates (4th ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 133–42. ISBN 978-0-520-08085-0.
- Firestone, M. (2009). Watching Wildlife : Southern Africa ; South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia (2nd ed.). Footscray: Lonely Planet. pp. 228–9. ISBN 978-1-74104-210-8.
- Heckel, J.O. (2007). "The present status of the hartebeest subspecies with special focus on north-east Africa an the Tora hartebeest" (PDF). Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority: 1–13. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Capellini, I. (2007). "Dimorphism in the hartebeest". Sex, Size and Gender Roles: 124–32. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199208784.003.0014. ISBN 978-0-19-920878-4.
- Capellini, I.; Gosling, L. M. (2006). "The evolution of fighting structures in hartebeest". Evolutionary Ecology Research 8: 997–1011.
- Kingdon, J. (1989). East African Mammals : An Atlas of Evolution in Africa (Volume 3, Part D:Bovids). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-43725-6.
- Oboussier, H (1970). "Information on Alcelaphini (Bovidae-Mammalia) with special reference to the brain and hypophysis. Results of research trips through Africa (1959–1967)". Gegenbaurs morphologisches Jahrbuch 114 (3): 393–435. PMID 5523305.
- Schaller, G. B. (1976). The Serengeti Lion : A Study of Predator-Prey Relations (Pbk. ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 461–5. ISBN 978-0-226-73640-2.
- Guggisberg, C. A. W. (1972). Crocodiles. Their Natural History, Folklore and Conservation: David and Charles (Publishers) Limited, Newton Abbot.
- Verlinden, A. (1998). "Seasonal movement patterns of some ungulates in the Kalahari ecosystem of Botswana between 1990 and 1995". African Journal of Ecology 36 (2): 117–28. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2028.1998.00112.x (inactive 2016-02-06).
- Pester, F. R. N.; Laurence, B. R. (20 August 2009). "The parasite load of some African game animals". Journal of Zoology 174 (3): 397–406. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1974.tb03167.x.
- Boomker, J.; Horak, I.G.; De Vos, V. (June 1986). "The helminth parasites of various artiodactylids from some South African nature reserves". The Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 53 (2): 93–102. PMID 3725333.
- Howard, G. W. (1977). "Prevalence of nasal bots (Diptera: Oestridiae) in some Zambian hartebeest". Journal of Wildlife Diseases 13 (4): 400–4. doi:10.7589/0090-3558-13.4.400. PMID 24228960.
- Spitalska, E.; Riddell, M.; Heyne, H.; Sparagano, O.A. (August 2005). "Prevalence of theileriosis in red hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus caama) in Namibia". Parasitology Research 97 (1): 77–9. doi:10.1007/s00436-005-1390-y. ISSN 1432-1955. PMID 15986252.
- Spinage, C. A. (2012). African Ecology - Benchmarks and Historical Perspectives. Berlin: Springer. p. 1176. ISBN 978-3-642-22872-8.
- Hoberg, E. P.; Abrams, A.; Pilitt, P. A. (2009). "Robustostrongylus aferensis gen. nov. et sp. nov. (Nematoda: Trichostrongyloidea) in kob (Kobus kob) and hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus jacksoni) (Artiodactyla) from Sub-Saharan Africa, with further ruminations on the Ostertagiinae". Journal of Parasitology 95 (3): 702–717. doi:10.1645/GE-1859.1. ISSN 1937-2345. PMID 19228080.
- Belem, A. M. G.; Bakoné, É. U. (2009). "Gastro-intestinal parasites of antelopes and buffaloes (Syncerus caffer brachyceros) from the Nazinga game ranch in Burkina Faso". Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement 13 (4): 493–8. ISSN 1370-6233.
- le Roux, P. L. (1931). "On Longistrongylus meyeri gen. and sp. nov., a trichostrongyle parasitizing the Red Hartebeest Bubalis caama". Journal of Helminthology 9 (3): 141. doi:10.1017/S0022149X00030376.
- "Hartebeest". African Wildlife Foundation. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- Schuette, J. R.; Leslie, D. M.; Lochmiller, R. L.; Jenks, J. A. (20 May 1998). "Diets of hartebeest and Roan antelope in Burkina Faso: Support of the long-faced hypothesis". Journal of Mammalogy 79 (2): 426–36. doi:10.2307/1382973.
- Murray, M. G. (1993). "Comparative nutrition of wildebeest, hartebeest and topi in the Serengeti". African Journal of Ecology 31 (2): 172–7. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.1993.tb00530.x.
- Casebeer, R. L.; Koss, G. G. (1970). "Food habits of wildebeest, zebra, hartebeest and cattle in Kenya Masailand". African Journal of Ecology 8 (1): 25–36. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.1970.tb00827.x.
- Mills, G.; Hes, L. (1997). The Complete Book of Southern African Mammals. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-947430-55-9.
- Yadav, P.R. (2004). Vanishing and Endangered Species. New Delhi: Discovery Publishing House. pp. 139–40. ISBN 978-81-7141-776-6.
- Mallon, D.P.; Kingswood, S.C. (2001). Antelopes: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. ISBN 978-2-8317-0594-1.
- Harper, F. (1945). Extinct and Vanishing Mammals of the Old World. New York: American Committee for International Wildlife Protection. pp. 642–8.
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Alcelaphus buselaphus lichtensteinii. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Alcelaphus buselaphus tora. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Alcelaphus buselaphus swaynei. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- Datiko, D.; Bekele, A. (2011). "Population status and human impact on the endangered Swayne's hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus swaynei) in Nechisar Plains, Nechisar National Park, Ethiopia". African Journal of Ecology 49 (3): 311–9. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.2011.01266.x.
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Alcelaphus buselaphus major. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Hendrickx, S; Adams, B. (2004). Egypt at its Origins : Studies in Memory of Barbara Adams : Proceedings of the International Conference "Origin of the state. Predynastic and early dynastic Egypt", Krakow, 28th August - 1st September 2002. Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters en Departement Oosterse Studies. p. 111. ISBN 978-90-429-1469-8.
- Hoffman, L. C.; Smit, K.; Muller, N. (2010). "Chemical characteristics of red hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus caama) meat". South African Journal of Animal Science 40 (3): 221–8. doi:10.4314/sajas.v40i3.6.
- "Problems with identifying meat? The answer is to check the barcode". BioMed Central. 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- Media related to Alcelaphus buselaphus at Wikimedia Commons
- Data related to Alcelaphus buselaphus at Wikispecies