The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) launched the 2016 Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland in December 2016. Each week, we’ll be bringing you new species assessments, and introducing you to our Mammal of the Week, based on this updated Red List.

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This week’s mammal of the week is the Endangered Oribi, a little-known and charismatic small antelope that is found in grasslands in the eastern half of the country, needing both short grass for food and long grass for food and shelter. This species’ survival is sadly dependent on conservation efforts due to the many threats it faces. These threats include habitat destruction, illegal hunting with domestic dogs, inappropriate management, poor law enforcement, and lack of awareness of the status and threats. Due to the severity and increasing nature of these threats, the national Oribi population is declining; between 1996 and 2014 the population declined by up to 13%. The largest subpopulation is in the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Park, KwaZulu-Natal, with only approximately 400 individuals.  A number of conservation projects (some through the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Threatened Grassland Species Programme) have been established to stop this decline.

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The 2016 Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland was funded via the South African National Biodiversity Institute (through a grant by the Norwegian Government that aims to build capacity in the southern Africa region for undertaking assessments), the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the Department of Environmental Affairs, E Oppenheimer & Son and De Beers Group of Companies.