1. Tragelaphini – spiral-horned antelope

1. Tragelaphini - spiral-horned antelope

Bushbuck

The Cape bushbuck , also  known as imbabala is a common, medium-sized and a widespread species of antelope in sub-Saharan Africa. It is found in a wide range of habitats, such as rain forestsmontane forests, forest-savanna mosaic, savanna, bushveld, and woodland. Its stands around 90 cm at the shoulder and weigh from 45 to 80 kg. They are generally solitary, territorial browsers.

Although rarely seen, as it spends most of its time deep in the thick bush, there are around 1 million in Africa

Common Eland

 The common eland (southern eland or eland antelope) is a large-sized savannah and plains antelope from East and Southern Africa. An adult male is around 1.6 m  tall at the shoulder (females are 20 cm  shorter) and can weigh up to 942 kg with a typical range of 500–600 kg. Only the giant eland is (on average bigger). It was described by Peter Simon Pallas in 1766. Population of 136,000, can form herds of 500

Common Eland

Giant Eland

Giant Eland

The giant eland, (also known as Lord Derby’s eland and greater eland) is an open-forest and savanna antelope.

 It was described in 1847 by John Edward Gray. The giant eland is the largest species of antelope, with a body length ranging from 220–290 cm (87–114 in). There are two subspeciesT. d. derbianus and T. d. gigas.

The giant eland is a herbivore, living in small mixed gender herds consisting of 15–25 members. Giant elands have large home ranges. They can run at up to 70 km/h.  They mostly inhabit broad-leafed savannas and woodlands and are listed as vulnerable and have a wild population of 12,000-14,000

Greater Kudu

The greater kudu  is a large woodland antelope, you can see its distribution on the map. Despite occupying such widespread territory, they are sparsely populated in most areas due to declining habitat, deforestation, and poaching. 

The spiral horns are impressive, and grow at one curl every 3 years – they are fully grown at 7 and a half years with 2 and a half turns. Three subspecies have been agreed (one described has been rejected) :

 

  • T. s. strepsiceros – southern parts of the range from southern Kenya to Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa
  • T. s. chora – northeastern Africa from northern Kenya through Ethiopia to eastern Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea
  • T. s. cottoni – Chad and western Sudan
They are listed as near threatened with 118,000 in the wild
Greater Kudu

Lesser Kudu

Lesser Kudu

The lesser kudu  is a medium-sized bushland antelope found in East Africa.  It was first scientifically described by English zoologist Edward Blyth (1869).It stands around 90 cm at the shoulder and weigh from 45 to 80 kg. They are generally solitary, territorial browsers.

While currently rated not threatened, its population is decreasing. It currently stands at 100,000, but it is loosing territory to humans

Common Bongo (and mountain Bongo)

The bongo  is a large, mostly nocturnal, forest-dwelling antelope, native to sub-Saharan Africa. Bongos are characterised by a striking reddish-brown coat, black and white markings, white-yellow stripes, and long slightly spiralled horns. It is the only member of its family in which both sexes have horns. Bongos have a complex social interaction and are found in African dense forest mosaics. They are the third-largest antelope in the world.

The Common (western or lowland bongo), faces an ongoing population decline, and the IUCN considers it to be Near Threatened.

The mountain bongo (or eastern) of Kenya, has a coat even more vibrant than the common version. The mountain bongo is only found in the wild in a few mountain regions of central Kenya. This bongo is classified by the IUCN  as Critically Endangered (where it breeds readily). (this is not on the map above). Only 100 live wild, split between 4 areas of Kenya

Common Bongo

Nyala

Nyala

The Nyala is a spiral horned species

 found in Southern Africa. The nyala is mainly active in the early morning and the late afternoon. It generally browses during the day if temperatures are 20–30 °C  and during the night in the rainy season. The nyala feeds upon foliage, fruits and grasses, and requires sufficient fresh water. It is a very shy animal, and prefers water holes to the river bank. Not territorial, they are very cautious creatures. They live in single-sex or mixed family groups of up to 10 individuals, but old males live alone. They inhabit thickets within dense and dry savanna woodlands. The main predators of the nyala are lion, leopard and African wild dog, while baboons and raptorial birds prey on juveniles. Males and females are sexually mature at 18 and 11–12 months of age respectively, though they are socially immature until five years old. They have one calf after 7 months of gestation. Its population is stable, with the greatest threat coming from habitat loss as humans expand. There are thought to be 36500 and the population is stable.

Mountain Nyala

 The mountain Nyala (also known as the Balbok) is a large antelope found in high altitude woodlands in just a small part of central Ethiopia. The coat is grey to brown, marked with two to five poorly defined white strips extending from the back to the underside, and a row of six to ten white spots. White markings are present on the face, throat and legs as well. Males have a short dark erect crest, about 10 cm (3.9 in) high, running along the middle of the back. Only males possess horns.

The mountain nyala are shy and elusive towards human beings. They form small temporary herds. Males are not territorial. Primarily a browser. They will grazing occasionally. Males and females are sexually mature at 2 years old.. Gestation lasts for eight to nine months, after which a single calf is born. The lifespan of a mountain nyala is around 15 to 20 years.

Found in mountain woodland -between 3000m and 4000m. Human settlement and large livestock population have forced the animal to occupy heath forests at an altitude of above 3,400 m (11,200 ft). Mountain nyala are endemic to the Ethiopian highlands east of the Rift Valley. As much as half of the population live within 200 square km (77 sq mi) area of Gaysay, in the northern part of the Bale Mountains National Park. The mountain nyala has been classified under the Endangered category of the  (IUCN). Their influence on Ethiopian culture is notable, with the mountain nyala being featured on the obverse of Ethiopian ten cents coins.

Mountain Nyala

Situnga Antelope

Situnga

The sitatunga  (or marshbuck)is a swamp-dwelling medium-sized antelope found throughout central Africa (see the map to the right. The sitatunga is mostly confined to swampy and marshy habitats. Here they occur in tall and dense vegetation as well as seasonal swamps, marshy clearings in forests, riparian thickets and mangrove swamps.

The scientific name of the sitatunga is Tragelaphus spekii. The species was first described by the English explorer John Hanning Speke in 1863.

It is listed as least concern with 170,000-200,000, and are found in 25 countries. However 40% live outside reserves, so the situation could get worse fast.

Note: these animals have been dealt with in less detail than others. Should you be interested in finding out if I have written on these animals or what exactly I said, you can find a list of articles about each below its information.

3.4.5 Peleinae, Alcelaphinae, Hippotraginae

Subfamilies 3. Peleinae, 4. Alcelaphinae, 5. Hippotraginae

The subfamily 3. Peleinae (one species)

Grey Rhebok

Grey Rhebok

The grey rhebok or grey rhebuck, locally known as the vaalribbok in Afrikaans, is native to South Africa, Lesotho, and Eswatini (Swaziland). The specific name capreolus is Latin for ‘little goat’. Generally confined to the higher areas of Southern Africa, they typically inhabit grassy, montane habitats – for example, sourveld – usually 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above sea level, and carry a woolly grey coat to insulate them from the cold. They are not strictly limited to this habitat as they can be found in the coastal belt of the Cape, almost at sea level.

The grey rhebok is listed as “Near Threatened”, with a population of between 10,000-18,000

4. Subfamily Alcelaphinae - Sassabies, Hartebeest, Wildebeest (6 species)

Hirola

The HIrola ( also known as the Hunters hartebeest or hunters antelope) is a critically endangered species. It was named by H.C.V Hunter (a big game hunter and zoologist) in 1888. It is the only member of the genus Beatragus, and it currently has 300-500 individuals living in the wild (there are none in captivity).

It is a widely known fact, that should the Hirola be lost from the wild, it will be the last species in its genus, and therefore the first mammal genus to go extinct in Africa in the modern era. Locals have got behind this species, with 17 conservancies protecting much of the area. There are even efforts to make some of this area devoid of predators, so as to help this species bounce back faster.

Hirola

Tsessebbe, other names regularly used include Topi Sasseby and Tiang

Tsessebbee

The Tsessebbe is part of a group of so called species, which are actually subspecies (there are 5 or 6 subspecies recognized

It is closest related to the Bangweulu Tsessebe, Less so, but still very close to the Topi, Korrigum, Coastal Topi and teh Tiang subspecies. Even the Bontebok is very closely related.

  •  Tsessebbes have around 300,000 living wild
  • Korrigum (Senegalese Hartebeest) in 2004, it was numbered 2650, split between 2 national parks. They situation has not improved
  • Topi are doing well with over 100,00
  • Currently, the Tiang still number very high.

Bontebok

Found only in Southern Africa, its range includes South Africa, Lesotho and Namibia

There are 2 subspecies:

  • Bontebok, found around the western cape -2500-3000 (vulnerable IUCN)
  • Blesbok, found in the high-veld. Closely related to the Tsessebe has a population of around 120,000 (Least concern IUCN)
The majority of this is in protected reserves, meaning that the current threat is low and this species should keep growing
Bontebok

Hartebeest

Hartebeest

The Hartebeest – as many as 70 subspecies, local variants and similar have been suggested, however there is only one currently recognized species.

Overall, the species is listed as least concern with a population of around 360,000. The red hartebeest has a population of 130,000, but at the other end the Swaynes hartebeest in Ethiopia is only thought to number 800 in the wild. The Bulbul hartebeast (light blue) is extinct. The Lelwel Hartebeest(green) is considered endangered and has around 70,000 members. The western or Major hartebeest has around 36,000. What is clear, is that if you are travelling to an area where the local hartebeest is struggling, it would be we worth paying to see them, so as to give a value to them

Blue Wildebeest

  • Other names include common wildebeest, white-bearded gnu or brindled gnu.

There has been five subspecies recognized:

 

  • C.t.taurinus (Burchell, 1823), the blue wildebeest, common wildebeest, or brindled gnu Inhabits the dark brown range

  • C. t. johnstoni (Sclater, 1896), the Nyassaland wildebeest, inhabit orange (Tanzania, Mozambique Malawi)
  • C. t. albojubatus (Thomas, 1912), the eastern white-bearded wildebeest, found in the Gold (beside the Yelow)
  • C. t. mearnsi (Heller, 1913), the western white-bearded wildebeest, its range is shown in yellow
  • C. t. cooksoni (Blaine, 1914), Cookson’s wildebeest, is restricted to the Luangwa Valley in Zambia. This is the mighter brown

In addition, the distinctive appearance of a western form, ranging from the Kalahari to central Zambia, suggests that subspecies mattosi (Blaine, 1825) may also prove distinct from subspecies taurinus. The western form can be recognised even at a distance by its upright mane, long beard, and minimal brindling.

There are around 1.5 million of this species living in the wild – so they are not endangered. Having said this, given that 1.3 million (almost 90% of them live in the Serengeti ecosystem), were something to happen, we could be in a very different position..

Blue wildebeest

Black Wildebeest

Black wildebeest

The Black wildebeest is the black wildebeest or white-tailed gnu is one of the two closely related wildebeest species.  It was first described in 1780 by Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann. It came surprisingly close to extinction, having been hunted as a pest and for its meat and hide.

The current population is now thought to be around 18,000, though 7000 of this is in Namibia (outside their natural range) where they are farmed. Their conservation status is least concern

5. Subfamily Hippotraginae

Addax

The addax , also known as the white antelope and the screwhorn antelope, is an antelope found in the  Sahara Desert. The only member of the genus Addax, it was first described scientifically by Henri de Blainville in 1816. As suggested by its alternative name, the pale antelope has long, twisted horns – typically 55 to 80 cm  in females and 70 to 85 cm in males. Males stand from 105 to 115 cm at the shoulder, with females at 95 to 110 cm. The females are smaller than the males (sexually diamorphic). The colour of the coat depends on the season – in the winter, it is greyish-brown with white hindquarters and legs, and long, brown hair on the head, neck, and shoulders; in the summer, the coat turns almost completely white or sandy blonde.

The addax mainly eats grasses and leaves of any available shrubs, leguminous herbs and bushes and can survive with no more water than that in the plants they eat for long periods of time. Addax form herds of 5to 20 members, consisting of both males and females, but they are led by the eldest female. Due to its slow movements, the addax is an easy target for its predators: humans, lions, leopards, cheetahs and African wild dogs. Breeding season is at its peak during winter and early spring. The natural habitat of the addax are arid regions, semideserts and sandy and stony deserts.

The addax is a critically endangered species of antelope, as classified by the IUCN (though the USFWS lists them as endangered, as the population is thought to have gone from under 100 to around 500 in the last few years) . Although extremely rare in its native habitat due to unregulated hunting, it is quite common in captivity. The addax was once abundant in North Africa; however it is currently only native to Chad, Mauritania, and Niger. It is extirpated from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, and Western Sahara, but has been reintroduced into Morocco and Tunisia. On the map, they green areas are where they still live, while the red represent places that they have been reintroduced

Addax

Sable Antelope

Known for its impressive back curving horns, the sable antelope is a large antelope which inhabits wooded savanna in East and Southern Africa, from the south of Kenya to South Africa, with a separated population in Angola.

There are 4 subspecies

  • The southern sable antelope (other names include the common sable antelope, black sable antelope, Matsetsi sable antelope or South Zambian sable antelope) was the first to be described in 1838 and so is considered the nominate subspecies. Often referred to as the black sable antelope because it tends to have the darkest coat, this subspecies occurs south of the Zambezi River, particularly in northern Botswana and in large numbers in the Matsetsi Valley of Zimbabwe, but it is also found in South Africa. Currently, only about 15% pure Matsetsi sable antelopes are thought to exist in South Africa. The Matsetsi sable antelope population in Zimbabwe is only 450 (down from 24,000 in 1994). The sable antelope population in South Africa is about 7,000 (commercial and in reserves). Therefore, the Matsetsi sable antelope population apparently is less than 1,500 and declining. However, most of the sable antelope in the reserves are pure Matsetsi sable antelope. Anglo-American recently started a program of breeding pure Matsetsi sable antelope commercially and keeping them pure.
  • The giant sable antelope (also known as the royal sable antelope) is so named because both sexes are larger and their horns are recognizably longer. It is found only in a few remaining localities in central Angola. It is classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and is listed on Appendix I of CITES. There are thought to be less than 1000 left in the wild. Given a war raged for 27 years (ending in 2002), there is little tourism to the country. If this changes it is likely to give impetus for protecting what wildlife that remains.
  • The Zambian sable antelope (also known as the West Zambian sable antelope or West Tanzanian sable antelope) has the largest geographic range of the four subspecies, which extends north of the Zambezi River through Zambia, the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Malawi into southwestern Tanzania. It is classified as Vulnerable (I cannot find a population estimate.
  • The eastern sable antelope (also known as the Shimba sable antelope) is the smallest of the four subspecies. It occurs in the coastal hinterlands of southern Kenya, particularly in the Shimba Hills National Reserve, and ranges through the region east of Tanzania’s eastern escarpment and into northern Mozambique.

In English “great sable antelope”, “sable” or the Swahili name mbarapi are sometimes used. An archaic term used in accounts of hunting expeditions in South Africa is “potaquaine”; the origin and exact application are unclear. Local names include swartwitpens (Afrikaans), kgama or phalafala (Sotho), mBarapi or palahala (Swahili), kukurugu, kwalat or kwalata (Tswana), ngwarati (Shona), iliza (Xhosa), impalampala (Zulu) and umtshwayeli (Ndebele).

Roan Antelope

Roan Antelope

The roan antelope is a large savanna-dwelling antelope found in western, central, and southern Africa. Named for its roan colour (a reddish brown), it has lighter underbellies, white eyebrows and cheeks and black faces, lighter in females. It has short, erect manes, very light beards and prominent red nostrils. It is one of the largest antelope, measuring 190–240 cm  from head to the base of the tail, and a 37–48 cm  long tail. Males weigh 242–300 kg and females 223–280 kg . Its shoulder height is around 130–140 cm.

It was first described by French naturalist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in 1803. It is listed as least concern by IUCN, while CITES places them on appendix 3 (I have been unable to find conservation of the subspecies, but these will be added if/ when I do.

Six subspecies are recognised:

  • H. e. bakeri (Heuglin, 1863): Occurs in Sudan (East Africa). Vulnerable 
  • H. e. cottoni Dollman and Burlace, 1928: Occurs in Angola, Botswana, the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo, central and northern Malawi, and Zambia (Southern Africa).
  • H. e. equinus É. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1803: Occurs in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe (Southern Africa).
  • H. e. koba (Gray, 1872): Range extends from Senegal to Benin (West Africa).
  • H. e. langheldi Matschie, 1898: Occurs in Burundi, the northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda (East Africa).
  • H. e. scharicus (Schwarz, 1913): Occurs in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad and eastern Nigeria (Central Africa).
Roan antelopes can be found in woodland, grassland, and savannah; mainly in the tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome, which range in tree density from forest with a grassy understory (such as the central Zambezian Miombo woodlands) to grasslands dotted with few trees, where they eat mid-length grasses.
 
They live in small groups and form harem groups of 5 to 15 animals with one dominant male. Males commonly fight among themselves for dominance of their herd, brandishing their horns while both animals are on their knees.

Gemsbok

The gemsbok or South African oryx, is a large antelope in the genus Oryx. It is endemic to the dry and barren regions of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and (parts of) Zimbabwe, mainly inhabiting the Kalahari and Namib Deserts, areas in which it is supremely adapted for survival. Previously, some sources classified the related East African oryx, or beisa oryx, as a subspecies.

The name gemsbok is from Afrikaans, which itself is from the Dutch word of the same spelling, meaning “male chamois”, composed of gems (“chamois”) + bok (“buck, male goat”).

It is on the Namibian coat of arms, as there are roughly 373,000 in the country. They are listed as least concern. Being a desert species, they are only found in South African reserves in the west, and are not found in the Kruger. The closely related East African Oryx lives (unsurprisingly) in east Africa.

Belsa Oryx - Also known as the East African Oryx

Belsa Oryx

The East African oryx  inhabits eastern Africa. The East African oryx has two subspecies;

  • the common beisa oryx (O. b. beisa)
  • the fringe-eared oryx (O. b. callotis).

In the past, both were considered subspecies of the gemsbok. The East African oryx is an endangered species, with 11,000-13,000 mature individuals in the wild.

Scimitar Oryx

The scimitar oryx, also called the scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), of North Africa used to be listed as extinct in the wild, but it is now declared as endangered. Unconfirmed surviving populations have been reported in central Niger and Chad, and a semi-wild population currently inhabiting a fenced nature reserve in Tunisia is being expanded for reintroduction to the wild in that country. Several thousand are held in captivity around the world.

Schimiter Oryx

6. Subfamily Aepycerotinae (1 species)

Impala

Impala

There are currently around 2 million Impala roaming across Africa.  About one quarter of these live in protected areas in Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Around 1000 of the Black faced Impala live in the green area in the west of Africa.

In some reserves such as the Kruger, they are the most common antelope.

7. Subfamily Antilopinae

Dama Gazelle

The Dama Gazelle is a small antelope, species with a handful of small populations acros central and western north Africa. It lives in the Sahara and the Sahel desert. 

In Niger, the Dama Gazelle has become a national symbol.

There are 3 subspecies, however the Mhorr gazell is extinct in the wild (though zoos have a number) , the dama gazelle is only kept in captivity one zoo and is very rare in the wild. 

The species is critically endangered with only 100-200 left in the wild. Given that this small population is spread over a number of areas. The number of wild semi wild and captive is around 2900, so it is just the need to save the species in the wild which is the current problem.

Schimiter Oryx

1. Tragelaphini – spiral-horned antelope

1. Tragelaphini - spiral-horned antelope

Bushbuck

The Cape bushbuck , also  known as imbabala is a common, medium-sized and a widespread species of antelope in sub-Saharan Africa. It is found in a wide range of habitats, such as rain forestsmontane forests, forest-savanna mosaic, savanna, bushveld, and woodland. Its stands around 90 cm at the shoulder and weigh from 45 to 80 kg. They are generally solitary, territorial browsers.

Although rarely seen, as it spends most of its time deep in the thick bush, there are around 1 million in Africa

Select a shortcode

Common Eland

 The common eland (southern eland or eland antelope) is a large-sized savannah and plains antelope from East and Southern Africa. An adult male is around 1.6 m  tall at the shoulder (females are 20 cm  shorter) and can weigh up to 942 kg with a typical range of 500–600 kg. Only the giant eland is (on average bigger). It was described by Peter Simon Pallas in 1766. Population of 136,000, can form herds of 500

Common Eland

Giant Eland

Giant Eland

The giant eland, (also known as Lord Derby’s eland and greater eland) is an open-forest and savanna antelope.

 It was described in 1847 by John Edward Gray. The giant eland is the largest species of antelope, with a body length ranging from 220–290 cm (87–114 in). There are two subspeciesT. d. derbianus and T. d. gigas.

The giant eland is a herbivore, living in small mixed gender herds consisting of 15–25 members. Giant elands have large home ranges. They can run at up to 70 km/h.  They mostly inhabit broad-leafed savannas and woodlands and are listed as vulnerable and have a wild population of 12,000-14,000

Greater Kudu

The greater kudu  is a large woodland antelope, you can see its distribution on the map. Despite occupying such widespread territory, they are sparsely populated in most areas due to declining habitat, deforestation, and poaching. 

The spiral horns are impressive, and grow at one curl every 3 years – they are fully grown at 7 and a half years with 2 and a half turns. Three subspecies have been agreed (one described has been rejected) :

 

  • T. s. strepsiceros – southern parts of the range from southern Kenya to Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa
  • T. s. chora – northeastern Africa from northern Kenya through Ethiopia to eastern Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea
  • T. s. cottoni – Chad and western Sudan
They are listed as near threatened with 118,000 in the wild
Greater Kudu

Lesser Kudu

Lesser Kudu

The lesser kudu  is a medium-sized bushland antelope found in East Africa.  It was first scientifically described by English zoologist Edward Blyth (1869).It stands around 90 cm at the shoulder and weigh from 45 to 80 kg. They are generally solitary, territorial browsers.

While currently rated not threatened, its population is decreasing. It currently stands at 100,000, but it is loosing territory to humans

Common Bongo (and mountain Bongo)

The bongo  is a large, mostly nocturnal, forest-dwelling antelope, native to sub-Saharan Africa. Bongos are characterised by a striking reddish-brown coat, black and white markings, white-yellow stripes, and long slightly spiralled horns. It is the only member of its family in which both sexes have horns. Bongos have a complex social interaction and are found in African dense forest mosaics. They are the third-largest antelope in the world.

The Common (western or lowland bongo), faces an ongoing population decline, and the IUCN considers it to be Near Threatened.

The mountain bongo (or eastern) of Kenya, has a coat even more vibrant than the common version. The mountain bongo is only found in the wild in a few mountain regions of central Kenya. This bongo is classified by the IUCN  as Critically Endangered (where it breeds readily). (this is not on the map above). Only 100 live wild, split between 4 areas of Kenya

Common Bongo

Nyala

Nyala

The Nyala is a spiral horned species

 found in Southern Africa. The nyala is mainly active in the early morning and the late afternoon. It generally browses during the day if temperatures are 20–30 °C  and during the night in the rainy season. The nyala feeds upon foliage, fruits and grasses, and requires sufficient fresh water. It is a very shy animal, and prefers water holes to the river bank. Not territorial, they are very cautious creatures. They live in single-sex or mixed family groups of up to 10 individuals, but old males live alone. They inhabit thickets within dense and dry savanna woodlands. The main predators of the nyala are lion, leopard and African wild dog, while baboons and raptorial birds prey on juveniles. Males and females are sexually mature at 18 and 11–12 months of age respectively, though they are socially immature until five years old. They have one calf after 7 months of gestation. Its population is stable, with the greatest threat coming from habitat loss as humans expand. There are thought to be 36500 and the population is stable.

Mountain Nyala

 The mountain Nyala (also known as the Balbok) is a large antelope found in high altitude woodlands in just a small part of central Ethiopia. The coat is grey to brown, marked with two to five poorly defined white strips extending from the back to the underside, and a row of six to ten white spots. White markings are present on the face, throat and legs as well. Males have a short dark erect crest, about 10 cm (3.9 in) high, running along the middle of the back. Only males possess horns.

The mountain nyala are shy and elusive towards human beings. They form small temporary herds. Males are not territorial. Primarily a browser. They will grazing occasionally. Males and females are sexually mature at 2 years old.. Gestation lasts for eight to nine months, after which a single calf is born. The lifespan of a mountain nyala is around 15 to 20 years.

Found in mountain woodland -between 3000m and 4000m. Human settlement and large livestock population have forced the animal to occupy heath forests at an altitude of above 3,400 m (11,200 ft). Mountain nyala are endemic to the Ethiopian highlands east of the Rift Valley. As much as half of the population live within 200 square km (77 sq mi) area of Gaysay, in the northern part of the Bale Mountains National Park. The mountain nyala has been classified under the Endangered category of the  (IUCN). Their influence on Ethiopian culture is notable, with the mountain nyala being featured on the obverse of Ethiopian ten cents coins.

Mountain Nyala

Situnga Antelope

Situnga

The sitatunga  (or marshbuck)is a swamp-dwelling medium-sized antelope found throughout central Africa (see the map to the right. The sitatunga is mostly confined to swampy and marshy habitats. Here they occur in tall and dense vegetation as well as seasonal swamps, marshy clearings in forests, riparian thickets and mangrove swamps.

The scientific name of the sitatunga is Tragelaphus spekii. The species was first described by the English explorer John Hanning Speke in 1863.

It is listed as least concern with 170,000-200,000, and are found in 25 countries. However 40% live outside reserves, so the situation could get worse fast.

Note: these animals have been dealt with in less detail than others. Should you be interested in finding out if I have written on these animals or what exactly I said, you can find a list of articles about each below its information.

2. Subfamily Reduncinae: rhebok reedbuck and Waterbuck

2. Reduncinae - Rhebok, Reedbuck, Waterbuck

Boher Reedbuck

Boher Reedbuck

The bohor reedbuck  is an antelope native to central Africa.

The head-and-body length of this medium-sized antelope is typically between 100–135 cm. Females are smaller. This sturdily built antelope has a yellow to grayish brown coat. Only the males possess horns which measure about 25–35 cm long. There are 5 subspecies:

  • R. r. bohor Rüppell, 1842: Also known as the Abyssinian bohor reedbuck. It occurs in southwestern, western and central Ethiopia, and Blue Nile (Sudan).
  • R. r. cottoni (W. Rothschild, 1902): It occurs in the Sudds (Southern Sudan), northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and probably in northern Uganda.
  • R. r. nigeriensis (Blaine, 1913): This subspecies occurs in Nigeria, northern Cameroon, southern Chad and Central African Republic.
  • R. r. redunca (Pallas, 1767): Its range extends from Senegal east to Togo. It inhabits the northern savannas of Africa. 
  • R. r. wardi (Thomas, 1900): Found in Uganda, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and eastern Africa. 
The total population of this species is 100,000, and while it is decreasing, it is not currently low enough to justify a near threatened rating, though this might change in the near future. At the current time, I cannot see any of the subspecies being in a worse position but can change this if I find out more.

Mountain Reedbuck

 The mountain reedbuck has 3 subspecies. The western mountain reedbuck only has 450 individuals still living wild, (shown on the map in red) also known as the Adamwa mountain reedbuck which is restricted to the highlands of Cameroon. The Eastern mountain reedbuck (or Chanlers) has 2900 wild individuals, is found in parts of Kenya and Ethiopia. The Southern moutnain reedbuck, blue, (33,000) is found in the Drakensburg mountains of South Africa.

Mountain Reedbuck

Southern Reedbuck

Southern Reedbuck

The Southern, or common Reedbuck is found in Southern Africa. It is a midsized  antelope, standing 134-167cm tall

 It was described in 1785 by Pieter Boddaert. Southern reedbucks live in pairs or alone, though occasionally they will form herds of up to 20. They prefer to lie in grass or reed beds in the heat of the day and feed during sunrise and sunset, or sometimes even at night. Old reedbucks are permanently territorial, with territories around 35-60 hectares, and generally live with a single female, preventing contact with rival males. Females and young males perform an ‘appeasement dance’ for older males.  Within this territory, it is active all the time in summer, but it is nocturnal in the wet season. It regularly uses paths to reach good sites to rest, graze, and drink water. They are hunted by all the top predators in the area, including Lion, Leopard, Cheetah hyena and wild dog, as well as animals like snakes.

They are easily hunted, and combined with loss of territory to human expansion, the population is down. About 60% occur in protected reserves, but in some countries like Gabon and the DRC are though to almost be locally extinct.

Kob

The puku  is a mid-sized antelope found in wet grasslands in Southern Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and more concentrated in the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Nearly one-third of all puku are found in protected areas, zoos, and national parks due to their diminishing habitat (though this still leaves 2/3 of Puku living outside all protected areas.

Kob (queen Elizabeth national park)

Red Lechwe

Red Lechwe

Red Lechewe is a species of antelope found in the south of eastern African. The red lechwe is native to Botswana, Zambia, southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, northeastern Namibia, and eastern Angola, especially in the Okavango Delta, Kafue Flats, and Bangweulu Wetlands. They are found in shallow water, and have a substance on their legs which allows them to run pretty fast. Total population is around 160,000

Four subspecies of the lechwe have been recognized

  • Common red lechwe (Gray, 1850) – Widely distributed in the wetlands of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. (80,000)
  • Kafue Flats lechwe  (Haltenorth, 1963) – It is confined within the Kafue Flats (seasonally inundated flood-plain on the Kafue River, Zambia). (28,000)
  • Roberts’ lechwe  (Rothschild, 1907) – Formerly found in northeastern Zambia, now extinct. Also called the Kawambwa lechwe.
  • Black lechwe (Kobus leche smithemani(Lydekker, 1900) – Found in the Bangweulu region of Zambia. (50,000)

In addition, the Upemba lechwe (1000)  and the extinct Cape lechwe are also considered subspecies by some authorities. Although related and sharing the name “lechwe”, the Nile lechwe (below) is consistently recognized as a separate species.

Nile Lechwe

The Nile lechwe or Mrs Gray’s lechwe  is an endangered species of antelope found in swamps and grasslands in South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Nile lechwe can visually signal and vocalize to communicate with each other. They rear high in the air in front of their opponents and turn their heads to the side while displaying. Females are quite loud, making a toad-like croaking when moving. Known predators are humans, lions, crocodiles, cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas and leopards. They flee to water if disturbed, but females defend their offspring from smaller predators by direct attack, mainly kicking. Nile lechwe are crepuscular, active in the early morning and late afternoon. They gather in herds of up to 50 females and one male or in smaller all-male herds. They divide themselves into three social groups: females and their new offspring, bachelor males, and mature males with territories. A males with territory sometimes allows a bachelor male into his territory to guard the region and not to copulate. They are sexually mature at 2.

Nile lechwe feed on succulent grasses and water plants. They have the special capability to wade in shallow waters and swim in deeper waters, and may feed on young leaves from trees and bushes, rearing up to reach this green vegetation. Nile lechwe are also found in marshy areas, where they eat aquatic plants.  Around 32,000 and are classed as endangered

Nile Lechwe

Puku

Puku

The puku  is a medium-sized antelope found in wet grasslands in southern Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and more concentrated in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Nearly one-third of all puku are found in protected areas, zoos, and national parks due to their diminishing habitat (the issue here, is that these 2/3 are clearly at danger of disappearing if humans change their behaviour. They are currenly listed as not threatened

Two subspecies exist:

  • Senga Puku
  • Southern Puku
Both appear to be not threatened.
They are found in Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park

Waterbuck

The waterbuck  is a large antelope found widely in sub-Saharan Africa.It was first described by Irish naturalist William Ogilby in 1833.

Its 13 subspecies are grouped under two varieties: the common or ellipsiprymnus waterbuck and the defassa waterbuck. The head-and-body length is typically between 177 and 235cm  and the typical height is between 120 and 136cm. In this antelope, males are taller and heavier than females. Males reach roughly 127 cm at the shoulder, while females reach 119cm. Males typically weigh 198–262 kg and females 161–214 kg. Their coat colour varies from brown to grey. The long, spiral horns, present only on males, curve backward, then forward, and are 55–99 cm long. Waterbucks are rather sedentary in nature. As gregarious animals, they may form herds consisting of six to 30 individuals. These groups are either nursery herds with females and their offspring or bachelor herds. Males start showing territorial behaviour from the age of 5 years, but are most dominant from the six to nine. The waterbuck cannot tolerate dehydration in hot weather, and thus inhabits areas close to sources of water. Predominantly a grazer, the waterbuck is mostly found on grassland. In equatorial regions, breeding takes place throughout the year, but births are at their peak in the rainy season. The gestational period lasts 7–8 months, followed by the birth of a single calf.

Waterbucks inhabit scrub and savanna areas along rivers, lakes, and valleys. Due to their requirement for grasslands and water, waterbucks have a sparse ecotone distribution. The IUCN lists the waterbuck as being of least concern. More specifically, the common waterbuck is listed as of least concern. while the defassa waterbuck is near threatened. The population trend for both is downwards, especially that of the defassa, with large populations being eliminated from certain habitats because of poaching and human disturbance.

The common waterbuck is listed as least concern, while the Defassa is listed as near threatened. Only 60% of this subspecies population is in protected areas, so it could get worse, if they are lost.

Waterbuck

Dog family tree

The Dog (caninae) family tree

The arctic wolf is a subspecies of the grey wolf found native to the High Arctic tundra of Canada's Queen Elizabeth Islands, from Melville Island to Ellesmere Island.

The Dogs also form an incredibly successful family. They have spread to even more so more of the earths surface has a dog living in each area. They has been classified into 2 tribes.

The first tribe is the tribe Canini (true dogs), which is further split into two subtribes. Each sub tribe is in turn split into a number of Genus, which have a number of species each

The first subtribe is Canina which is wolf like Canids, this is in term split into 4 genus which I will take in turn

Canis

First genus  is Canis, which is subdivided into 6 species 2 of which have into subspecies.

The second genus is Cuon and only has one member in it. This is found in central south and south east Asia.

The next genus is Lupulella, and has two members, both found in Africa

The last Genus in Canis is Lycaon. This only has one member, which is the African wild dog

The second subtribe is Cerdocyonina (south American Dogs). There are 5 genus with living members (South American dogs), with the 6th (Dusicyon) containing 2 extinct species – so we will not mention this agai .

Of the 5 genus with living members, Lycalopex is one of these genus with 6 species. Lycalopex is made up of South American fox species – it should be noted that these so called South American foxes are not foxes. While they look like foxes, they are more closely related to Jackals and wolves.

The other 4 Genus in this subtribe, with living members each only have one member, so I will deal with these Genus in one go. These Genus are  Atelocynus, Cerdocyon, Chrysocyon and Speothos. In the same order, the species that inhabit each of these genus are Short eared-dog, Crab eating fox, Manned wolf and the Bush dog.

Then there is a tribe called Vulpina, sub divided into 3 Genus. these are essentially the fox like canines

  • The Nyctereutes which consist of the Racoon dogs: the common raccoon dog and the Japanese racoon dog.
  • The Otocyon which consists of the bat eared fox
  • The Vulpes: Which I will deal with in the next section, separately (below

The true fox family is a large extended family of foxes from around the world. They all behave in a similar way, though the habitat in which they live can be very differemt

Finally there is a Genus on its own called Urocyon which consists of grey foxes, of which there ae only 2 surviving members.

African Savannah

African Savannah animals

The aim here is not to give you the number of every species that exists in each reserve. Rather, the aim is to give you a rough idea of the health and size of each reserve. In places where there are private reserves on the edge of a larger reserve, complete ecosystem numbers will be given. Please note that they will not be precise, as even straight after a thorough count numbers are only estimates – furthermore, some reserves do not publicize their numbers.

The grid of animals that I have included above are as follows (below):

African wild dog Black rhino White rhino(Really wide rhino) Elephant Buffalo Giraffe Zebra Cheetah Hippopotamus Lion Hyena Leopard

This is going to be the standard animals for Savannah ecosystems within Africa, however each different Biome will have different species so there will be a variety of these pages. I will give you brief information on each. In the long-run we hope to have animal pages for each and these will be linked from the Bold animal names. Those not bold not not yet have a link page. At the bottom of each animals page is a list of places which you can book to see the animal in question; each currently have at least a few choices, but I hope to be able to direct to many more as time moves forwards.

African wild dog (or sometimes known as Cape hunting dog or painted dog). This animal is an incredible sighting if you get lucky. Now, they live at low densities, so are generally found in the largest reserves. If a reserve still has African wild dog, it is clear that the reserve is in pretty good health (usually). Furthermore, as they are very susceptible to various diseases that domestic dogs can carry (such as canine distemper) – this wiped out the population in the Serengeti in 1995. Thankfully, wild dogs have returned to the Serengeti, though currently only 100 or so are in the ecosystem – meaning it is unlikely that you will see them here. Any sighting is a wonderful thing. Member of ecotourism big 7

Black and White Rhino Two different species, Black rhino had a far larger range, unfortunately they are highly endangered across most of their range. White rhino, once found in central Africa (there are now only 2 of these animals left, held at Ol Pejeta conservancy in Kenya) are now only found in Southern Africa – South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The Kruger, once hosted as much as 10,000 or more white rhino, but now only have about 3000. Note: white rhino appears to be a mistranslation from the Africaans Weit, meaning wide, these rhino are not white. Pictures are Black then white rhino. Member of big 5 and ecotourism big 7

Elephant One of the species that so many people visit Africa for, the Savannah African elephant is doing okay, though the populations is far below historical levels. Places like the Selous (now much of this reserve is Nyerere National park) lost perhaps 80% of there historical elephant population. Encouragingly, if the poaching stops the population often rapidly recovers. The African forest elephant has seen horrific poaching over the last few decades, and without a rapid change this species might be heading for extinction (the African forest elephant is closer related to the Mammoth than the African Savannah elephant. Member of the big 5 and ecotourism big7.

Buffalo: A member of the big 5, the buffalo is essentially a wild cattle species. They are a member of the big 5 and ecotourism big 7. The big 5 is so named because these were the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. Buffalo are often the species which you are likely to have encounters with if you go walking on foot.

Lion Often referred to as the King of the Jungle (despite not being found in jungles), is generally considered the apex predator. Certainly a wonderful thing to see, never-the-less they do not get their own way all the time. The population of Lions in Africa has seen precipice falls in the last century, and this has not stopped. Tourism is one tool we have to give them financial value to those who share their space with them. Member of the big 5 and ecotourism big 7

Giraffe: While this is a species that is found in the majority of Southern and Eastern African reserves, they are officially classed as endangered, as their population is currently falling so fast. The selous in Tanzania is nicknamed the Griraffe park as there are so many of them.

Zebra are also found in most reserves in Africa, though the number of them is still of interest.

Cheetah Like African Wild dog are a key indicator of the health of the ecosystem. Living at low densities in most reserves (except in places like the Serengeti plains). These are rare sightings, and most reserves do not have many cheetah. Indeed of all the big species, the cheetah is one of the few predators who do better outside reserves.

Hippopotamus: This is another species that does reasonably well outside protected reserves, but their population has fallen fast over the last few years.

Lion Lions are a very clear indication of the health of each ecosystem. If there is a significant population of Lion, then it is a large reserve and therefore there is plenty of space for other species. Check our links at the bottom of the lion page for some of the best place to see them.

Hyena There are thought to be more than 100,000 spotted hyena in Africa, making them the most numerous predator on the continent. They are exciting animals to see, and their call is often one of the species that you hear from your campsite – the weird rising whoop which is the contact call they use between them. Watch the video below to see what I mean. The advantage of the population size is that you are likely to find them in most wilderness areas. Brown hyenas are also widely found, never the less, as they do not do well in close proximity to spotted hyenas which means they are more often found on the edge of reserves and outside them.

Leopard The last member of the big 5 and Ecotourism big 7, the Leopard is a fascinating species. A solitary animal (except mothers with their young) they are the only big cat, or indeed member of the big 5 that is reguarly found outside protected reserves, though this is decreasing over time. A fantastic sighting, they can be very hard to find, and sightings in big reserves are usually very crowded. Generally found near river courses, as these are the places where large trees are found, allowing the Leopard to rest out of danger.

African wild dog

African wild dog

Whether there were originally multiple African wild dog subspecies, these have not been retained. There were once 500,000 wild dogs roaming Africa. There are currently just 6600, spread across Africa, though many of the populations are unlikely to be genetically healthy long-term.

The Kruger wild dog population swings between extremes. In 2007 there were about 350 within the Limpopo transfrontier park. in 2022 there are thought to be about 800 wild dogs in the same area.

The Serengeti wild dog population disappeared during 1995 – wild dogs are highly sociable animals, so illness can wipe out populations. Wild dogs appear to have help on and there are thought to be about 120 at the moment. Inoculation of the domestic dog population surrounding the park will hopefully stop this happening again, and the population will grow back to the former highs -where packs 100 strong could be seen chasing the Wildebeest migration across the plains.

The largest single population lives in the Selous reserve (much of this reserve is now classed as the Nyerere national park) with a population of perhaps as many as 1000.

There are thought to be about 700 wild dogs in northern Botswana.

There are small populations all over Africa, such as 100 in Chad, but whether these survive long-term is another question. The map below shows the huge number of small populations all over Africa. The total african wild dog population is thought to be around 7000, with 700 packs.

There are 5 subspecies that have been recognized:

  • Cape wild dogs                   This is the only subspecies that appears to be doing relatively well with around 4000 animals left (though the underestimate                                                            the current population of the Kruger – while in the past it has been as low as 350, the current population is at its peak of around                                                       850. Significant wild dog populations in this subspecies include the Kruger, while the KAZA transfrontier park is likely to be                                                              another. (Botswana is thought to host around 1300 wild dogs within its boundary, with most of the other countries in the region                                                      having at least 500 somewhere in the country. 
  • East African wild dog     The east African wild dog has a number of good population – Selous has around 800-1000, while the Laikipia region of Kenya is                                                        thought to host around 300 of this rare animal
  • West African wild dog- The West African wild dog used to be widespread from western to central Africa, from Senegal to Nigeria. Now only two                                                                        subpopulations survive: one in the Niokolo-Koba National Park of Senegal and the other in the W National Park of Benin,                                                                       Burkina Faso and Niger. It is estimated that 70 adult individuals are left in the wild – split pretty evenly split between these two                                                         population.
  • Somali wild dog-                The Somali wild dog is thought to be extinct in Somali, though some are thought to survive in Ethiopia. Bale Mountains national                                                         park is known for Ethiopian wolves, but it is thought that 1 pack of around 30 Somali wild dog also live here (though they live in                                                         the dense Harenna forest, so perhaps they never meet. There are likely, some other wild dog in the country, but it is unlikely                                                                that the whole population excedes more than 100.
    tains National Park
  • Chadian wild dog-             The only part of this population that lives on protected land, are found within the Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park in the                                                       Central African republic.           
Limpopo Transfrontier park including Kruger sabi sands and other conservation areas
Greater Serengeti

Wolf

An Iberian wolf out alone

Wolf

The wolf is a species that is often on the top of the list of animals that people would like to see in the wild before they die. It is truly a wonderful thing to see.

I have been lucky enough to see them twice, once from a bear hide in Sweden (look at the hide list, this one is the only currently available) as well as also seeing an Iberian wolf briefly, as well as hearing them in the distance.

There is something magical about being in an ecosystem where you are not the only dangerous animal. Wolves are not dangerous in the same way as the big 5 from Africa. Even spending years in the field, you are unlikely to actually to get close to a wolf, and if you do, more often than anything it will run. For much of Europe, humans are having to get used to living alongside them, having destroyed the population in the last few hundred years. But they are essential for a balanced ecosystem – i certainly hope that eventually they will return to this country.

As many as 38 subspecies are listed, and as we make contacts for people to see the wolves, we will add more subspecies. Some examples include the Eurasian wolf, the Indian wolf, the Iberian wolf and even the domestic dog. However, it was found that many of these interbred along their boundary suggesting they are more of a clade than a subspecies. As such, below i have split the wolf species into 2 groups, old and new world wolves. Each will have a page, thought these will remain relatively sparse until we start adding links for where you can see them. I should add (once again) that this is a page for subspecies of the grey wolf. Any closely related wolf like the Alonquin wolf (eastern wolf) or the red wolf have pages of their own, as they have been granted separate species status (as opposed to separate subspecies, which will be listed on this page)

There is a great thirst in our increasingly artificial lives, for people to experience the wild. It is true that many do this on safari in Africa, or on a whale watching trip, but the interest in seeing wolves in their native environment only grows as time goes by.

The wolf is an apex predator. By hunting in packs, they are able to take down much larger prey than they would be alone, though a number of different subspecies have given up this advantage to be able to survive in places where large prey is not available. Subspecies like the African wolf subsist on rats and birds and rabbits and species of similar size. They are incredibly intelligent (when trekking in the Romania mountains we saw the sign of recent visits by the wolves, in order to plan their attack on the vast sheep flocks which would be herded through this narrow valley, several months later) and can plan a significant distance into the future. The Ethiopian wolf (a species that is not a subspecies of the grey wolf, but closely related) hunts in a very similar way, but not being a subspecies of the grey wolf will not appear on this page (it has its own page, accessible from the wild dog page or click here). The domestic dog is a subspecies. The African wild dog, is a relation of the wolf, but is not a subspecies. It is thought that it last shared an ancestor with the wolf around 2 million years ago.

 

Below is an image of a range of  old world wolf subspecies. Each one will have a page devoted to it, and over time, we hope to list places to see each one in the wild. We rely on people who live alongside these animals to list places that people can see them (the whole purpose of this website is to create a wildlife travel marketplace, if you live somewhere wild, list it and make money while showing the world the amazing wildlife on your doorstep (if it is not a wolf, find your species – we wish long term to cater for all)

Old world grey wolf subspecies – Europe Asia Africa (note- the name of each has wolf after it – Iberian wolf etc. This does not apply to the last two). Below is a map of the rough range of the old world species

The Iberian wolf is a subspecies of the grey wolf found on the Iberian peninsular. It reached its minimum in the 1970s with 500-700 iindividuals living in the wild. Until the middle of the 19th century, it was widespread, throughout the Iberian peninsular. It should be noted, that wolves have never had high densities, and the wolves of western Europe are not thought to have ever had a population much above 848–26 774 (depending on which end of the estimate you rely – but is the founding population of both the Iberian and Apennine population).

They have been gradually spreading from their 1970s holdout – in a hunting reserve called the Sierra de Culebra which is a hunting reserve straddling the North eastern border of Portugal, and across the border in Spain. This reserve is fascinating, and may well be a good way to support wolves in other areas. There is significant belief that the wolf populations in Southern Spain is extinct, however, should the recovery of the Iberian wolf is allowed to continue, I could well see wolves re-settling these areas within the next couple of decades

They have in recent years, started to meet with Apennine wolves, who re-entered France back in 1991-1992, and settled in the  Pyrenees. The small pockets of wolves in Southern Spain are isolated and are certainly threatened long-term. The Iberian wolf had its last survey in 2021, and at that time the number of wolves was estimated at 2000-2500. It should be noted that in 2021 wolf hunting was banned in Spain – between 2008 and 2013, 623 Iberian wolves were hunted legally, and I think that it is fantastic that this has been banned. Having said that, it means that the wolf hunting number was around 5% of the wolves in the country each year. This is at a level which should allow the population to grow over time.

These wolves are fascinating to see in the wild (I have seen them and heard them), and the best way to make sure that they say in the wild is to go see them. They are fantastic for ecosystems, and are very exciting to see in the wild. As we add destinations, they will appear below.

The Apennine wolf is also known as the Italian wolf. Back in the 1970s the population reached its minimum, where the population reached 70-100 individuals. It has recovered well since then, with an Italian population of roughly 3300. However, since the early 1990s, this subspecies has been gradually moving into France. As such, at the end of 2022 the number was estimated at 1104 wolves in France.

The Italian wolf is considered the national animal of the country (at least by some) and features heavily in writings from across the history of the country (going back as far as the Roman empire). It was listed as a subspecies back in 1921, and the range almost exactly 100 years ago in 2019 is shown to the right. It should be noted, that wolf range is likely to have increased significantly in the 5 years that have run since this map was created.

The genetics of this subspecies suggests that it went through a genetic bottleneck in the last 20,000 or so year, and it is thought wolves were isolated south of the alps, and unable to exchange DNA with any other group of wolves. Now they have been able to move beyond the alps, this isolation appears to be over, and there are already couples breeding, which will improve the health of each population as a whole.  Keep an eye on the news box below which will list articles on this subspecies.

The Apennine wolf is found throughout  much of Italy, and an increasingly large parts of France, as well as even sections in Spain in the Pyrenees. There is much wilderness across its range, and as such there is likely space for a far larger population. It is also worth noting, that the deer population across Italy and France is higher than it has been for some time, and as such a recovered wolf population is likely to control these at more natural levels.

Never-the-less, there is much tourism in all of the range of the Apennine wolf. Any places that we have listed to see this wolf subspecies will appear below.

The Eurasian wolf (often referred to as the Russian wolf), is the subspecies which runs down the east coast of the Adriatic sea, as well as the majority of Russia and northern Europe. 

 It ranges through Scandinavia, the Caucasus, Russia, China, and Mongolia. Its habitat overlaps with the Indian wolf in some regions of Türkiye.

In South eastern Europe it is found in much of the countries in which it lives, but not throughout the area (its distribution is patchy, but relatively easy to move between areas where they are found). The numbers are thought to be roughly 3900 throughout this area.

Its Scandinavian population is not large, but it is thought to still be connected with its Russian population so there is no worry about genetic bottlenecks. Norway and Sweden are thought to have a population of around 450 in total. Around 80% of these are in Sweden, though this is by choice- despite the large area of Norway, they state than 95% of the country should remain wolf free, and the remaining area can only support 3 breeding pairs. This is not scientific but political and as such takes intensive culling each year. Finland has a current population of 300 which is the highest for a century, though modelling suggests a population under 500 is unlikely to remain healthy for long; though given the proximity of Finland to Russia, wolves are able to regularly interbreed across the border.

The Russian wolf population is the largest, and accounts for most of Russia’s wolves. The population was estimated at 40,000. They are hunted, but at the current time, their population appears to be pretty stable.

The Chinese population is 10,000-12,000, while Mongolia has 10,000-20,000

Although, the only subspecies to take the name Russian, Russia hosts a range of wolf subspecies. Also known as the Northern Asian subspecies. I have not found much information on this subspecies, but hope to add more soon as it becomes available.

In places like reserves, these wolves are seen relatively regularly. The reserve we visited a bear hide, has a permanent person looking after it, and he claimed he saw wolves about once a week. While this sub-species does not have a population growing particlarly fast, it is also not shrinking fast either.

We will aim to list places to see them below. Do get in touch if you have somewhere that you do see these wolves regularly, and would like to list your destination. Letting other people pay to see the wildlife that you see all the time, can help reward their ongoing survival as well as bringing in some money which can help you .

The Tundra wolf – Canis lupus Albus is the Eurasian equivalent of the Arctic wolf. Also known as the Turukhan wolf, it is native to Eurasia’s tundra and forest-tundra zones from Finland to the Kamchatka Peninsula. It was first described in 1792 by Robert Kerr.

The tundra wolf generally rests in river valleys, thickets and forest clearings. In winter it generally feeds on female or young wild and domestic reindeer, though smaller animals like hares, arctic foxes and other animals are sometimes taken. A survey of stomach contents of 74 wolves caught around Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the 1950s were found to consist of 93.1% reindeer remains. In the summer period, tundra wolves feed extensively on birds and small rodents, as well as newborn reindeer calves.

They are classed as least concern, and as can be seen, have a large range. There is no estimate of their numbers, but it is likely to be one of the more numerous in the world. (if anyone has further information do let me know). As yet, I have not written about the Tundra wolf – it is not easy to find information on it. However, as blogposts are written on this subspecies, they will appear below. It should be noted that when you look up Arctic or Tundra wolf, a number of webpages quote figures of 200,000

 

Indian wolf

The Indian wolf is one of the more well known, partly as their starring role in the Jungle book by Rudyard Kipling. I do remember my great grandmother talking about seeing 4 wolves running in the distance. It is thought to have 2000-3000 individuals left in the wild, though given its former large range, this does not appear very high. It should not be surprising, therefore, to hear that this is considered as one of the most endangered subspecies of the grey wolf – it officially has the conservation status of endangered – now it is considered endangered, and people talk about it at high risk, but it should be remembered that there are still 2000-3000, which is a pretty high number for a species considered more than just endangered.

It is found in arid and semi-arid peninsular plains of India, though from the distribution map to the right, you can see that much of its range is found outside India. The Indian wolf lives in smaller packs of 6-8. It has a reputation for cunning, and makes far less noises than other wolves, having very rarely been known to howl. As you can see from the map to the right, although called the Indian wolf, its range stretches far beyond the borders of India

It was described in 1831.

 

Also the most recently confirm subspecies of the wolf – the African wolf. The move onto the African continent has required a number of changes in behaviour, which makes it easily confused with Jackels, but the African wolf is indeed a wolf. It split from the wolf/coyote ancestor just over a million years ago. Previously, it was considered a subspecies of the Golden Jackal.

There are two genetically distinct populations, one in North-West Africa and the other in East Africa. It appears to be roughly 72% genetically grey wolf, with the rest coming from the Ethiopian wolf (while the Ethiopian wolf is considered a separate species, it is a closely related Canid).

It was only reidentified (having been originally identified in 1820) in 2015, so there is still much to be done, both in identifying size of population and variations of he population across Africa. Given the huge area that they are found in, it seems quite reasonable that there will be further splitting of the African wolf into separate subspecies (or merely populations, though given the huge distances between them we will have to wait and see) but we will find this out in time.

 

There has been little study of this species, and it is unclear exactly how much range that it has. Hopefully, this will happen in time, but it is clear that the big problem is telling the difference between golden jackals and golden wolves. 

 

 

African wolf range

There are a number of subspecies of the African wolf (quite quick, given it was not redeclared as a species 6 years ago. They are classed as a least concern. While not all sub-species have a clear estimate of the current population, genetic analysis suggests that the historic population was not smaller than 80,000 females.

 

  • Algerian wolf – range Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia -A dark-coloured subspecies, with a tail marked with three dusky rings. It is similar in size to the red fox
  • Senegalese wolf – Senegal – Similar to the Egyptian wolf, but smaller and more lightly built, with paler fur and a sharper muzzle.
  • Serengeti wolf – Kenya, northern Tanzania – Smaller and lighter-coloured than the northern forms. The wild population is 1500-2000
  • Egyptian wolf – Egypt, Algeria, Mali, Ethiopian Highlands, and Senegal – A large, stoutly built subspecies with proportionately short ears and presenting a very gray wolf-like phenotype, standing 40.6 cm in shoulder height and 127 cm in body length. The upper parts are yellowish-gray tinged with black, while the muzzle, the ears and the outer surfaces of the limbs are reddish-yellow. The fur around the mouth is white.
  • Somali wolf – Somalia and the coast of Ethiopia and Eritrea – A dwarf subspecies measuring only 12 inches in shoulder height, it is generally of a grayish-yellow color, mingled with only a small proportion of black. The muzzle and legs are more decidedly yellow, and the underparts are white.
  • Variegated wolf – Sudan and Somalia – A small subspecies standing 38 cm (15 in) at the shoulder, and measuring 102 cm (40 in) in length. The fur is generally pale stone-buff, with blotches of black.
Steppe wolf or caspian sea wolf user Mariomassone Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

The Steppe wolf also known as the Caspian sea wolf is a wolf subspecies that is found in the region around the Caspian sea, though the Steppe wolf is perhaps more useful a name as it extends far from the Caspian sea. Much of its range is in Kazakhstan as the working figure is 30,000 individuals, however, the survey which produced this number was completed in 2007, and given the lack of any protection and the widespread enjoyment, got from hunting wolves, it seems highly unlikely that the current population is anywhere near that size. 

As you can see from the map, its range is largely split between Kazakhstan and and teh western end of russia.

The Arabian wolf is found sporadically around the edge of the Arabian peninsular, with a total population of 1000-3000. The Arabian wolf was once found throughout the Arabian Peninsula, but now lives only in small pockets in 

  • Southern Israel: 100-150 live over the Negev and the Ha’arava. While harassing or killing wolves is prohibited, there is no compensation for livestock losses, meaning retaliation kills are more likely (80-100 Indian wolves are also found in the north of the country – Carmel, Galilee, and Golan Heights)
  • Palestine: possibly merely sharing the population numbers above (few surveys due to issue with getting in there). Both Arabian and Indian wolves are present.
  • Southern and western Kuwait: A significant amount of illegal killing, and having gone on for some time. It is thought that it is locally extinct, though with its continued presence in surrounding countries, it could return on its own.
  • Oman- wolves still exist in parts of the country, including the valley of the wolves (video below this text box). While surveys are rare, an Oryx survey between 1991 and 1997 encountered wolves on 17 occasions. Hunting was banned in recent years, and the wolf has increased since then. There is hope that the wolf will fully recover without help.
  • Yemen
  • Syria: the wolf is unprotected, and while there are no recent surveys, it is thought that around 200 wolves survive (no compensation is paid for lost of livestock).
  • Lebenon has around 50 wolves, though they have no legal protection and there is no livestock damage compensation
  • Jordan has 200 wolves, though little or nothing is known about them, including whether the population is growing or shrinking.
  • Saudi Arabia: hosting between 300 and 600  wolves, there is no protection and no livestock damage compensation
  • Parts of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt are thought to host small numbers of wolves
  • UAE the wolf is currently listed as extinct
 Bahrain and other countries in the region are not thought to have wolves at the current time. Having said this, the range of the Arabian wolf is not large and in other places wolves have dispersd thousands of miles, so it is essential that the other countries in the area and set up to allow wolves to return if this happens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

There is wolf tourism in a variety of places across the middle east, but merely expressing interest in them could well show locals their potential value.

Should you live in an Arabian wolf range area and would like to be able to show visitors these fascinating animals (and get paid for the privilege, do get in touch, we are eager to work with people on the ground. Below is a list of any articles from the website that mention this species, below that is a video of this species in the wild.

The range of the Himalayan wolf is shown in pink

The Himalayan wolf (scientifically known as Canis lupus chanco) is a member of the dog family, whose position is debated. Its genes show it is  genetically basal to the Holarctic grey wolf, genetically the same wolf as the Tibetan and Mongolian wolf, and has an association with the African wolf (Canis lupaster). No striking morphological differences are seen between the wolves from the Himalayas and those from Tibet. The Himalayan wolf lineage can be found living in Ladakh in the Himalayas, the Tibetan Plateau, and the mountains of Central Asia predominantly above 4,000m  in elevation because it has adapted to a low-oxygen environment, compared with other wolves that are found only at lower elevations.

Some experts have suggested that this subspecies is so different to other wolves, that it should be listed as a separate species. In 2019, a workshop hosted by the IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group noted that the Himalayan wolf’s distribution included the Himalayan range and the Tibetan Plateau. The group recommends that this wolf lineage be known as the “Himalayan wolf” and be classified as Canis lupus chanco until a genetic analysis of the holotypes is available. The Himalayan wolf lacks a proper morphological analysis. The wolves in India and Nepal are listed on CITES Appendix I as endangered due to international trade.

The Himalayan wolf is found in the Himalayan region encompassing India, Nepal and the Tibetan Plateau of Western China. The IUCN report noted that only 2,275 to 3,792 individuals of the Himalayan wolf (Canis lupus chanco) are left in the wild.

 The Mongolian wolf (Canis lupus chanco) is not restricted to just Mongolia, but is found in a range of countries in the area as well (see the map to the right for more information). For reference, the blue is the Mongolian wolf range, while the pink is the Himalayan wolf range.

Generally, there is little fear of the Mongolian wolf, and while they do occasionally take livestock they are not persecuted. There is a harvesting of wolf pelts but this is currently done at a sustainable level.

They are considered endangered; they are classed as endangered, with a Mongolian population of 10,000-20,000. I have been unable to identify an overall number for the population.

The new guinea singing dog (also known as the New Guinea highland dog, it is restricted to the highlands of New Guinea. There are a number of different possible names, and places where it fits into the dog family as its taxonomic status is debated, with proposals that include treating it within the species concept (range of variation) of the domestic dog Canis familiaris, a distinct species Canis hallstromi, and Canis lupus dingo when considered a subspecies of the wolf.

Rare amongst canines, it is incapable of barking, instead making an odd yodelling sound, which gives rise to its name.

 

Genetic analysis suggests that this subspecies is descended from multiple different wolf subspecies. However, it is still debated, though an IUCN workshop in 2019 came to the conclusion that both the singing dogs and the dingo to be populations of the domestic dog, and therefore not needing of protection, or needing to be listed on the IUCN red list.

Oddly, this species was thought to have gone extinct in the wild in 1970 and it was only in 2020 that several wild dogs were genetically tested and found to be this species. Still surviving in captivity, it was a big shock to find them living at heights of over 4km high.

The IUCN will not list them, as it considers them a domestic dog breed, but if this is the case, they are still of interest as they appear frozen in time – a so called “proto domestic dog”. There are around 100 animals in zoos and as domestic exotic pets, but these all originate from around 8 wild members, which means that there is little genetic diversity – leading to possible infertility.

In 2012, a tourist took a photo of an animal which looked suspiciously like the singing dog – taken in a remote mountainous area of New Guinea. When the photo found its way to a certain person, who had been running a program to find it since 1996. McIntyre, the leader of this project, launched a trip to the area and set up many camera traps. Oddly, while some tracks were found, no animals were seen until the last day when a whole pack walked in front of one of the camera traps. While they looked exactly as required, recognizing it would take more than photos to resurrect the singing dog from the dead, he mounted a second trip to the area and set out traps – he caught 2 males, and after taking blood and attaching tracking collars he released them.

After testing against captive singing dogs, it was found to have come from a fully diverse group of wild singing dogs. Some other researchers did suggest that no-one believed these animals to be dead (having found scat on a trip) but there we are.

Might this species be alive and thriving in remote parts of New Guinea? I will hope to write on it in the future – do get in touch if you have information on this fascinating species.

Closely related to the new Guinea singing dog, the Dingo is a dog species that has a relatively wide range. There is some debate about how it got to some of its homes, and whether it may have come alongside early humans.

The earliest remains of Dingoes in Australia are dated to almost 3500 years ago, While they are now quite happy living alone or alongside humans, it seems that this may be the descendant of early domestic dogs. Interestingly, both genetically and in body shape, these dogs do not appear to have changed much in the 3450 years that they are known to have been in Australia, suggesting a high level of self determination in choice of mate, as opposed to what might have happened with human lead selective breeding. It should be noted that it is thought it arrived far earlier than these earliest remains, with studies suggsting that a sensible arrival date was around 8300 years ago

Given that they have now been on the continent for likely well over 3000 years, it is quite likely that they have done whatever damage that their arrival might cause, and so they are to all intents and purposes a native Australian species.

There is not a particularly strong estimate in the number of Dingoes currently living wild, but it is thought to be between 10,000 and 50,000. Recent genetic studies have shown that over half of the dingoes are pure dingo, with no dog ancestry – putting paid to some attempts to suggest that they are little more than feral dogs, which would make their culling far easier to agree to.

Fraser island, off the coast of Queensland is one of the best places to see the dingo, though there are plenty of other places to head. We hope to add many in the near future, do help us get there.

New world wolf subspecies- until recently, as many as 38 wolf subspecies were recognized in North America. The current agreement is that there is just 4-6 (it should be noted that while it has been a debate for over a century, the current agreement is that the red wolf is a separate species and not a subspecies of the grey wolf). 

Wolves in the USA have been heavily persecuted since Europeans arrived on the continent, and as such in 1967 when they reached their minimum, there were only around 1550 individuals left. The map below shows where they still range.

Thankfully, given that most wolf subspecies has range outside the USA, we still have all of these subspecies (though the health of their population varies from subspecies to subspecies – we will cover this below in each one in turn.

The Trump administration gave the handling of the wolf population over to the states. While some took this responsibility seriously, others allowed the wolf to be all but exterminated once again.

This listing includes 5 of these subspecies, I may add or remove one as further evidence is found.

It should be noted that this image shows the layout of the wolf subspecies in north America, it does not show their current range. I have included a link to our red wolf page, it should be noted that the red wolf is not a subspecies of the grey wolf, it is a separate species which appears to be a hybrid between wolves and coyotes but split from grey wolves long in the past

Scientifically known as Canis lupus Arctus, some question the Arctic wolf classification as a subspecies, and it is certainly clear that it is only recently that wolves moved up from North America. Recent researchers have found that the Arctic wolves have no unique haplotypes (group of unique genes inherited from one parent) and that as such, they do not warrant the subspecies status, and are actually just north American wolves.

One thing to note, is that they are listed as data deficient in terms of population size, though even so, it is listed as least concern – having said this, there are clear threats. In 1997, there was a decline in the Arctic wolf population and its prey, muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus), and Arctic hares (Lepus arcticus). This was due to unfavourable weather conditions during the summers for four years. Arctic wolf populations recovered the next summer when weather conditions returned to normal. It is unclear where the information came from, but a very large number of websites list this animal as having a population of around 200,000 individuals. Given the global population of wolves is only thought to be around 200,000-250,000, there is no way that the Arctic population can be anywhere near this number. A reduction in the number of Musk ox, in recent years did also cause a decline in the Arctic wolf population. 

Although quite rightly considered apex predators, polar bears will on occasion hunt arctic wolves.

While listed as least concern, they are only relatively common in Alaska where there is plenty of food. Elsewhere they are very rare. Below will show a list of any articles written on this subject. If there is anyone who is interested in writing about this species (a researcher or similar) we would be fascinated to hear, while I will endeavour to write, I have found that there is little information on this highly specialized wolf subspecies.

Click here to watch a program on this subspecies called “Following the Tundra wolf”. Unfortunately certain names are used interchangeably – here they are not talking about the Tundra wolf, but the Arctic wolf, confusingly sometimes known as the tundra wolf

Mexican wolves (scientific name is Canis lupus baileyi) are currently only found in a small area as seen on the map to the right. It is a fantastic improvement on the situation around 1970 when the species was extinct in the wild. The first reintroduction was carried out in 1998. Unfortunately, founded by just 7 individuals, the population is highly inbred. Never-the-less, currently, the USA has 257 wild Mexican wolves, while 57 live across the border in Mexico, up from just 11 that were reintroduced into the wild. A further 380 are in captivity. 

As always with small populations, hybridization is a big threat. Both coyotes and other wolf subspecies can interbreed, and overlap territory in places.

If you visit an area where these wolves live, paying to do some wolf watching is the best way to support this subspecies long-term survival. If you have anything that will help with this, do click on list your wild place at the top of the page, so we can help people find you.

Tourism is one of the easiest ways to fund conservation projects, and while this species is currently not in danger, it certainly needs help to come back from its near extinction. 314 is a great population when compared to zero, but it is also a terrible one compared to the population that might exist werein not for human persecution.

The Great Plains wolf (scientific name is Canis lupus nubilus), alternatively known as the buffalo wolf or loafer, is a subspecies of gray wolf that once extended throughout the Great Plains, from southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada southward to northern Texas in the United States. The subspecies was thought to be extinct in 1926, until studies declared that its descendants were found in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. They were described as a large, light-colored wolf but with black and white varying between individual wolves, with some all white or all black. The Native Americans of North Dakota told of how only three Great Plains wolves could bring down any sized bison. 

First, described in 1828, it was thought to have been hunted to extinction in 1926, until studies declared that its descendants were found in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. However, later studies found wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan that were descendants of Canis lupus nubilus. Even then, their number became fewer and fewer until they were federally protected as an endangered species in 1974 (this is the same as all wolves living in the USA). Since then, their population became larger in the Great Lakes region and by 2009, their estimate grew to 2,992 wolves in Minnesota, 580 in Michigan and 626 in Wisconsin. Given the USA has a wolf popluation of 14,000-18000, a population of 4000 great plains wolves is actually significant (and more than 10 times the total population of the Mexican wolf).

Provided there is not a non-scientific return to hunting in the USA, it seems likely that they are safe for the future.

The North-western wolf (scientific name is Canis lupus occidentalis), is also known as the Mackenzie Valley wolf, Alaskan timber wolf,  Canadian timber wolf or the Northern timber wolf. Arguably the largest gray wolf subspecies in the world, it ranges from Alaska, the upper Mackenzie River Valley; southward throughout the western Canadian provinces, aside from prairie landscapes in its southern portions, as well as the North-western United States. The subspecies was first described in 1829 by Scottish naturalist Sir John Richardson. He chose to give it the name occidentalis in reference to its geographic location rather than label it by its color, as it was too variable so a colour referencing name would apply to not many of the wolves in question.

According to one source, phylogenetic analyses of North American gray wolves show that there are three clades corresponding to north-western wolf, Mexican and great plains, each one representing a separate invasion into North America from distinct Eurasian ancestors. The north-western wolf, the most north-western subspecies, is descended from the last gray wolves to colonize North America. It likely crossed into North America through the Bering land bridge after the last ice age, displacing great plains wolf populations as it advanced, a process which has continued until present times. Along with great plains wolves, north-western wolves are the most widespread member of the four gray wolf subspecies in North America, with at least six different names that it goes by (I named 3 of the at the start of this article).

Currently classed as “apparently secure” (one step down from secure) , this is the subspecies that was reintroduced into Yellowstone, and has since spread to the surrounding region. Many would argue that this is the largest subspecies of wolf in the world. Unfortunately this is another subspecies, where accurate population estimates are not forthcoming.

This suggested subspecies has been in recent times, lifted to its own species status – as such I have listed it in its own species status. You can find this species on the canine page, but to look at its page now, click here

It needs to be remembered, that the red wolf is its own species (with its own subspecies). It is a close relation of the grey wolf. Click here to jump to the red wolf page

Why are wolves so fascinating?

  • Is it just their incredible level of intelligence?
  • Their incredible attachment to each other, and the care that they show, in feeding the young, as well as the old and frail.
  • Might it be a throw-back to the time when wolves were a great threat to livestock in the last few millennia
  • Might instead, it be a greater throwback to the time when wolves and humans hunted together – a likely way that wolves started to become the domestic dogs, that we share our houses with.
  • Or perhaps, it is simply the spine-tingling thrill to have an encounter with an animal that makes the whole natural world where it lives, quake by its howls. Whatever, it is, there are a wide range of destinations across a great swarth of the world, looking to spend an evening with a local guide, trying to see them, gives them value. If everyone traveling to wolf areas were to pay to spend one evening during their stay looking at the local wolves, it would likely secure virtually all wolf populations across the world (there would be far more money in eco tourism than in hunting in almost all places – even in old hunting reserves like the Sierra de Culebra, there is far more to be made from eco-tourism than in hunting the 10 wolves a year that the reserve can support.
The only destination that we currently have listed, is the Sweden bear-hide,  but please get in touch – whether you live in an area where wolves live, work in hospitality or wildlife guiding in the same areas, we want to help people find you – As with everything on this site, we take a small cut of income so should we find you no customers, it costs you nothing. Click on list your wild place, to get in touch or to build your page – it is very simple and will only take a few minutes.
 
We are eager to make this work – we want to make it so that living in the shadow of wildlife is capable of making people in these places more than they loose from the animals themselves (predation, threat to life and damage to property)

To jump back to the dog family tree species, click here

Species watch

Species watch

All species are important, often reintroductions have failed because a small unnoticed animal was missed. Over time, we will amass pages for as many species as possible. However, just as important is  seeing how species are closely related. As such as well as looking at species from a specific ecosystem or family, we will also include family trees of many of the families on earth. It should be noted, that this is to help you find wildlife you wish to see, so will never link to every species. In either way, these links to these will be placed at the top.

Original paper - OrthoMaM: A database of orthologous genomic markers for placental mammal phylogenetics. Ranwez V., Delsuc F., Ranwez S., Belkhir K., Tilak M. & Douzery E. J. P. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2007, 7 : 241.

Tiger

Tiger

Tigers – Unlike Lions, tigers are not kings of their ecosystem in the same way as lions. While lions live in prides and lie out in the open, Tigers are solitary (except mothers with their young, or a current breeding pair.

In most instances, male tigers also have no part in caring for young. Amur tigers have a hard time finding food, and there are many documented cases where male tigers will leave kills for their mate and young. This has not been regularly noted amongst other sub species which  live in places where food is easier to come across.

We are yet to add any destinations to go see wild tigers, but they will appear on this page, along with a list of articles from the blog on this subject. With a range of different subspecies, which range from relatively secure and growing population, to those on the edge of extinction.

Tigers actually have a similar density in their habitat as a whole to lions (lions are about 5 times as populous, and have a range of about 5 times greater. Tigers roam around 650,000 square km, but with 4500 wild tigers – In other words, overall  each species has on average a similar density. Unfortunately, due to their solitary, and often nocturnal habits, it is better to compare tigers to leopards – for many visitors to Africa, while they might see 30 lions in a week, they might see just a couple of Leopards. Having said this, in India, this is recognized, and when a tiger is found you can take a ride on an elephant which will allow you to leave the road and get up and close to an elephant

Tigers are still found in a variety of countries, however, for the time being, I have not broken them down in this way, as it is more useful to look at them as their former subspecies (I say former because of a decision a few years ago – for more, look below the tiger picture that is below this text).

Below is a list of articles on all subspecies of tiger. Below that is a set of tabs, which will allow you to read about each subspecies. This is because tigers roam around 650,000 square km, however, there is thought that this could be increased by 1.7 million square km. It should be noted, that the current range of the tiger is only around 5% of its historical range.

We are eager to list as many places to see the wild tiger as we possibly can. We hope that each subspecies will eventually have plenty of destinations to see them in the wild. There are many people living alongside these animals, and as such tourism can help these peoples to earn a better income, while they protect these incredible animals.

I should note, that since 2017 there have only been 2 subspecies recognized. That of the continental tigers (Bengal, Amur, Malayan Indochinese, South China and the Caspian) and the so called Sunda tiger (historically from Sumatra Java and Bali, though only surviving in Sumatra). Now, I find it hard to believe that a Bengal tiger would survive in the Amur region of Russia. However, it may well have been found that the differences are not distinct enough to warrant subspecies status. As chance would have it, that would mean that the top line talks about distinct populations of the Continental Tiger, while the bottom line talks about the Sunda tiger populations

One of the last large habitats for tigers, the Sunderbans, is low level so will be lost to any significant sea level rise photo credit Soumyajit Nandy, .CC BY-SA 4.0

Bengal Tiger

The country with the most tigers is India, hosting around 70% of the remaining tigers, or a little over 3000. However, this is down from 100,000 in 1900. In 2006 the Indian tiger population was as low as just 1411 – there are individual reserves in Africa with more lions in than this number. Given that there are 54 tiger reserves in India, that leaves an average population of just 30 per reserve – translocation will be required to maintain genetically healthy tigers. Formerly working on pug-marks, counting has been replaced with photo identification, as pug marks were overestimating the population (Simlipal reserve in Orissa state claimed 101 tigers in 2004, yet in 2010 a photo count stated 61, and this is thought a a huge over estimate, as the same state government claims just 45 tigers across  the state. Sariska and Panna reserves in India are worse with the government having to admit that there are no tigers left (2 reserves of at least 5 so called tiger reserves with none left). 

In a list of the best places to see tigers, India will often count more than  half of them within its borders. There are many destinations with some tigers, and around half of the 

There is currently an estimated 3100 Bengal tigers and they are listed as endangered. However, the total number of wild tigers is around 4500, so around 2/3 live in India.

Wild Amur tiger in the snow
Amur Tigers are incredibly hardy, living in a place covered in snow for over half the year

Amur Tiger

Russia hosts one of the hardest tigers to see. However, there are now around 500 Amur tigers roaming the remote far east of Russia, up from less than 40 in the 1940s,  this population has also had great gains. 

Unfortunately there is little habitat for this population to grow much more, however recent genetic analysis has shown that the Amur tiger and the Caspian tiger (which lived in the far west of Russia, as well as various other countries around here like Türkiye (the new spelling of turkey)) is not distinct enough to be a separate subspecies – it is actually the western portion of the Amur tiger. The genetic analysis suggests that the two populations split within the last 200 years. 

As such, should space be found here, perhaps Amur tigers should be translocated west to repopulate these long empty tiger ranges. Ili-Balkash Nature Reserve in Kazakhstan covers 4150 square km (1600 square miles). This is large enough for a population of around 120 tigers, Given that even the most absurdly optimistic estimate for tiger numbers in 750, with more reasonable numbers being around 500 (minimum 260) this will over time, boost tiger populations by anywhere between 20% and 50%

Currently, there are thought to be between 265 and 486, the 750 number should not be relied on. They are listed as endangered. It should be noted, that in the 1930s there was just 20-30 Amur tigers , so this is a quite fantastic recovery – the population has increased by 800-2400% in around 100 years. It should be noted, that the Amur leopard has done half of the recovery of the possibly population increase, in just 20 years – showing what is possible. A similar recovery at the current time, would return us to having around 500 Amur leopards.

Much of the recovery, is down to reserves being set up in both China and Russia, for these cats protection. Expansion of these reserves would allow more cats to survive, while the founding and growing of an eco-tourism market could allow locals to benefit from the tigers and leopards living there.

We are eager to work with anyone in the field, do get in touch. Click on list your wild place.

Caspian tiger (extinct)

Caspian Tiger

The Caspian tiger was officially declared extinct in 2003, with the last two sightings were in 1958 and 1974 (in Kegeli in Karakalpkstan).

Before its local extinction, this tiger occurred in eastern Turkey, southern Caucasus, northern Iran, Iraq, and in isolated pockets throughout Central Asia as far as north-western China. Whether it will ever be allowed to have a range like this, is anyone’s guess. Clearly, humans were curtailing its range very early on. The only record for instance of its presence in Iraq, was from a 1887, when one was shot near Mosul. The last tiger in Turkey was shot in 1970, with Iran loosing its last in either 1953 or 1958, and the last tiger of Turkmenistan being shot in 1954.

Given the vast historic range of the Caspian tiger, there is many areas that are suitable for reintroduction. It is also possible, that by strategically translocating, it might be possible to reduce the number of tigers in the areas where they share habitat with Amur leopards, which might allow this population to also grow faster. The Caspian tiger is officially extinct, though it should be subsumed into the Amur tiger subspecies. It ranged from the eastern parts of Turkey to the central part of Russia (where it joined with the Amur tiger population. Plans are afoot to re-establish tigers in this range,  given that as the Amur tiger is the same sub-species it should thrive as it did in the past.

Malayan Tiger walking1 Angah hfz

The Malaysian tiger is a subspecies of tiger that is found on the Malaysian peninsular. There are only thought to be 80-120 tigers left in this country, and this has been caused by a variety of factors, including poaching for skin and bones, as well as habitat loss and fracturing, into smaller areas. It is similar to the Indochinese tiger (to the right) though it is smaller, and is the smallest mainland subspecies, though only slightly bigger on average than the Sumatran tiger.

As with elsewhere, increased tourism dollars, might well help local people see value in preserving this species. In the 1950s there were around 3000 of these tigers, however given a density of 1-2 tigers per 100 square km  that would require a lot of space. Malaysia protects about 13.3% of its land area which equates to 44,000 square km. .Going by top densities, this is only space for almost 900 tigers (though that is 8 to 9 times the current population) but if poaching were to stop, this situation could change fast.

They are classed as critically endangered

Historically found in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, this species decline is large. In 2010, the assessment was that there were 250 left in Thailand, with around 85 in Myanmar and perhaps 20 hanging on in Vietnam. It is thought that the population is now just 250. This sub-species is found in Myanmar(85)) and Thiland(237), with a total population of an estimated 342 individuals. Back in 2009-2014 the population was thought to be between 189-252 in this period. Vietnam is only thought to have 5 remaining, while Laos is thought to have 2. Historically, it was also found in Cambodia and China. Historically, it is thought that this species range would have gone further North, potentially up to Chittagong Hill Tracts and Brahmaputra River basin, where the Bengal tiger populations range ended.

In Myanmar, surveys were conducted between 1999 and 2002, confirming the presence of tigers in the Hukawng Valley, Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary and in two small areas in the Tanintharyi Region. The Tenasserim Hills is an important area, but forests are harvested there (which means that they may be too much disruption for the tiger to survive here). In 2015, a camera trap took an image of a tiger in the hill forests of Kayin State. Camera trap surveys between 2016 and 2018 revealed about 22 adult individuals in three sites that represent 8% of the potential tiger habitat in the country. How many the rest of the country could support even if they had to be reintroduced is beyond the scope of this.

More than half of the total Indochinese tiger population survives in the Western Forest Complex in Thailand (Covering an area of about 18,000 sq. km. extended into Myanmar border along the Tennaserim Range and abreviated to (WEFCOM)) is considered as the largest remaining forest track in the mainland Southeast Asia that is made up of 17  protected areas (without gaps between them; 11 national parks and 6 wildlife sanctuaries.), especially in the area of the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary. This habitat consists of tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests. Camera trap surveys from 2008 to 2017 in eastern Thailand detected about 17 adult tigers in an area of 4,445 km2 (1,716 sq mi) in Dong Phayayen–Khao Yai Forest Complex. Several individuals had cubs. The population density in Thap Lan National Park, Pang Sida National Park and Dong Yai Wildlife Sanctuary was estimated at 0.32–1.21 individuals per 100 km2 (39 sq mi). Three subadult tigers were photographed in spring 2020 in a remote region of Thailand that are thought to be dispersing – moving out of areas which they were born into, and trying to find territory of their own.

In Laos, 14 tigers were documented in Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area during surveys from 2013 to 2017, covering four blocks of about 200 km2 (77 sq mi) semi-evergreen and evergreen forest that are interspersed with some patches of grassland. Surveys that have been carried out since, have failed to detect any tigers, and the likelihood is that they have been extirpated as a result of poaching. Given the huge value of dead tigers in Chinese medicine, this is not a big surprise, as the current value for a carcass of a dead tiger is around £67,000 before doing anything with it, the value of it after extracting everything used in Chinese medicine (no evidence that it does anything) is around 5 times higher or £335,000. That is a huge windfall, but given that the average salary in Thailand is about £2200 a year (meaning that while many earn a great deal more than this, also many earn much less). 335,000, therefore represents perhaps 150 years of average salary. This is another place, where tourism can help. A thriving tourism industry will bring well paid jobs to many, and will therefore, not only preserve the tiger, but has the capacity of lifting many communities out of destitution.

In eastern Cambodia, tigers were last recorded in Mondulkiri Protected Forest and Virachey National Park during surveys between 1999 and 2007. In 2016, the Cambodian government declared that the tiger was “functionally extinct”. In April 2023, India signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia to assist the country with the tiger’s reintroduction. At least 90 acres (36 ha) of the Cardamom Mountains of Tatai Wildlife Sanctuary could be used to host Bengal tigers (though this if a correct number is not going to do much for a wild tiger).

From the 1960s and earlier, the Indochinese tiger occurred throughout the mountains in Vietnam, even in the midlands and Islands. In the report of the Government of Vietnam at the Tiger Forum in 2004, there would be tigers in only 17 provinces and they were living in fragmented and severely degraded forest areas. Tigers were still present in 14 protected areas in the 1990s, but none have been recorded in the country since 1997. There is news of its extinction in both countries. In Laos, no tiger has been seen since 2013, when its populations were estimated at only two, and these two individuals simply vanished shortly after 2013 from Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area, denoting they were most likely killed either by snare or gun. In Vietnam, a 2014 IUCN Red List report indicated that tigers were possibly extinct in Vietnam.

In China, it occurred historically in Yunnan province and Mêdog County, where it probably does not survive today.  Thus, probably the Indochinese tiger now only survives in Thailand and Myanmar. In Yunnan’s Shangyong Nature Reserve, three individuals were detected during surveys carried out from 2004 to 2009.

In Thailand’s Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, 11 individual tigers were equipped with GPS radio collars between June 2005 and August 2011. Females had a mean home range of 70.2km2 (27.1 sq mi) and males of 267.6km2 (103.3sq mi).

Between 2013 and 2015, 11 prey species were identified at 150 kill sites. They ranged in weight from 3 to 287 kg.  Sambar deer, banteng, gaur, and wild boar were most frequently killed, but also remains of Asian elephant calves, hog badger, Old World porcupine, muntjac, serow, pangolin, and langur species were identified.

The primary threat to the tiger is poaching for the illegal wildlife trade. Tiger bone has been an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 1,500 years and is either added to medicinal wine, used in the form of powder, or boiled to a glue-like consistency. More than 40 different formulae containing tiger bone were produced by at least 226 Chinese companies in 1993. Tiger bone glue is a popular medicine among urban Vietnamese consumers.

Between 1970 and 1993, South Korea imported 607 kg  of tiger bones from Thailand and 2,415 kg from China between 1991 and 1993. Between 2001 and 2010, wildlife markets were surveyed in Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos. During 13 surveys, 157 body parts of tigers were found, representing at least 91 individuals. Whole skins were the most commonly traded parts. Bones, paws, and penises were offered as aphrodisiacs in places with a large sex industry. Tiger bone wine was offered foremost in shops catering to Chinese customers. Traditional medicine accounted for a large portion of products sold and exported to China, Laos, and Vietnam. Between 2000 and 2011, 641 tigers, both live and dead, were seized in 196 incidents in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China; 275 tigers were suspected to have leaked into trade from captive facilities. China was the most common destination of the seized tigers.

In Myanmar’s Hukaung Valley, the Yuzana Corporation, alongside local authorities, has expropriated more than 200,000 acres (81,000 ha) of land from more than 600 households since 2006. Much of the trees have been logged, and the land has been transformed into plantations. Some of the land taken by the Yazana Corporation had been deemed tiger transit corridors. Without this land, smaller reserves can instantly become incapable of supporting tigers longterm. These are areas of land that were supposed to be left untouched by development in order to allow the region’s Indochinese tigers to travel between protected pockets of reservation land.

Since 1993, the Indochinese tiger has been listed on CITES Appendix I, making international trade illegal. China, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and Taiwan banned trade in tigers and sale of medicinal derivatives. Manufacture of tiger-based medicine was banned in China, and the open sale of tiger-based medicine reduced significantly since 1995.

Patrolling in Thailand’s Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary has been intensified since 2006 so that poaching appears to have been reduced, resulting in a marginal improvement of tiger survival and recruitment. By autumn 2016, at least two individuals had dispersed to adjacent Mae Wong National Park; six cubs were observed in Mae Wong and the contiguous Khlong Lan National Park in 2016, indicating that the population was breeding and recovering.[43]

In Thailand and Laos, this tiger is considered Endangered, while it is considered Critically Endangered in Vietnam and Myanmar. Of course, if all this is correct, then some of these countries should amend their listing to extinct.

The Indochinese tiger is the least represented in captivity and is not part of a coordinated breeding program. As of 2007, 14 individuals were recognized as Indochinese tigers based on genetic analysis of 105 captive tigers in 14 countries. This is no where near enough to be able to do a reintroduction.

I will hope to add links to help arrange travel to see this species, do get in touch if you can help

More than half of the total Indochinese tiger population survives in the Western Forest Complex in Thailand, especially in the area of the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary.

They are considered endangered in Thailand and critically endangered in Myanmar and Vietnam

South China Tiger

This subspecies is definitely extinct in the wild. It was considered critically endangered from 1996, but none have been seen since the early 1990s. The human population is large in this area.

The captive South China tiger population is thought to be around 150, though it is thought that few if any are pure South China tiger.

Laohu Valley Reserve, Free State in South Africa, is a 300 square km reserve which has been used to rewild the first of these tigers. There are now thought to be around 18 that could return to South China, and the plan was for them to return in 2008. Unfortunately, the situation there, has not improved, and so there is still no place for them to be reintroduced. The couple who paid for, and instigated this plan have since divorced, so it is unclear if the animals will ever return home.

They are officially extinct in the wild – however, given their presence both in captivity, and in small reserves in the wild, it is clear that in the future they could return.

Sumatra is the only Indonesian island which still houses wild tigers. There are currently thought to be 500-600 left in the wild (in 2017 the population was estimated at around 618 plus or minus 290 – a huge error margin).

As with elsewhere, habitat fragmentation is a big problem for this cat. The largest protected reserve is Gunung Leuser National Park. Around 500 of the islands tigers live in reserves, with another 100 living outside protected areas. Sightings are rare, but if you trek in the park, they are possible. Indeed, it is the last place on earth where elephants rhinos tigers and orangutans live alongside each other. There are also sun bears, making a fascinating if difficult big 5. The area also hosts some of the last clouded leopards in the world,

 

They are classed as critically endangered. while their population has grown in the last few decades, deforestation makes further growth hard, and further losses likely.

Below, is our usual list of any articles that might have been written on this subject, and below that is a documentary on Sumatran tigers. Below both of these, we will add any links which might help you see this animal in the wild (or indeed visit its wild home, giving locals more incentive to protective for the future)

Although only officially declared extinct in 2003, the last reliable sightings of tracks and the animal occurred in 1976. 

Ujung Kulon National Park hosts the last Javan rhino, thought to number just 76.  Other local species include carnivores such as leopard, wild dog (dhole), leopard cat, fishing cat, Javan mongoose and several species of civets. It is also home to three endemic primate species; the Javan gibbon, Javan leaf monkey and silvered leaf monkey. Over 270 species of birds have been recorded and terrestrial reptiles and amphibians include two species of python, two crocodile species and numerous frogs and toads. This habitat may well suit tigers in the future. However, the tiger population in Sumatra must first recover, and this may never happen, given the continued clearing of the rainforest.  A century ago, there were also orangutans.

They are classed as extinct, and while there are occasional possible sightings, it is highly unlikely that any remain.

The Bali tiger was lost in 1937 when it was shot. It is thought that they persisted in low numbers as late as the 1970s, though they were not declared extinct until 2008. Around 1250 square km remain on the island of rainforest, suggesting that it is another potential destination for the Sumatran tiger. Much work needs to be done first, both on Bali and on Sumatra, if this is to happen                          

Species is officially extinct

Tiger news in general

Wild tiger -photo credit S. Taheri
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