Roan antelopes are Africa’s second-largest antelope species. Their populations are stable and growing in some African countries, but in others – like Kenya –they’re threatened with extinction. To address this, the Kenya Wildlife Service is launching a recovery plan. Johnstone Kimanzi sheds light on why their numbers are declining and what can be done to protect them.
Where can roan antelopes be found in the world today and how many are left?
The roan antelope, which is endemic to Africa, used to be one of the most common antelopes – found in almost all African savannas. It is found in 30 countries, mostly within western, central and eastern Africa.
Today there are an estimated 60,000 roan antelopes remaining in Africa. One-third of these are concentrated in four countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Zambia and Tanzania. About 60% of them live in protected areas.
In general, the overall population trend of roan antelopes across countries is that they’re decreasing in number – one-third of their population is stable or increasing.
What’s caused a decline in their numbers?
In Kenya, there has been a huge decline in the number of roan antelopes, from 202 in 1976 to 19 individuals in 2019. Roan antelopes are now only found in Ruma National Park, in western Kenya.