Sitatunga Tragelaphus spekei (Speke, 1863)


English: Sitatunga; French: Sitatunga; Achod: Jole; Arabic: Am Kuluu; Afrikaans: Water Koedoe; Banda-Linda: Zungu; Chilala: Zowi; Damara: !!gam xaib; Duala: Mbudi: Ewondo-Beti: Emuul; Ful: Jabaare; Gbaya: Mbu’du; Iswana: Paa kong; Kikongo: Mvudi; Kiladi: Mbvuli; Kirundu: Inzobe; Kiswahili: Nzohe; Luganda: Enjobe; Mamza: Mburuya; Punu: Mbudi; Sindebele: Inzuza; Teke: Mvuu; Zande: Doroga.

Former distribution: From Senegal and Gambia east across the rain forests to Sudan and Ethiopia, south to Mozambique, Botswana, south east Angola north to Zaire, Cameroon and Nigeria.
Present distribution: Zambia, Liberia, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Sudan, southern Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire, Congo, Gabon, Cabinda, Central Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia (Caprivi Strip), Zambia, Malawi. Introduced into USA, Florida.
Behaviour: Preferred habitat: swamps, dense reedbeds and high grasses along rivers and lakes. They form small herds of about 6; active both by day and by night; they browse and graze on the tips of reeds, papyrus, aquatic grasses and plants; Sitatungas are excellent swimmers and have developed long splayed hoofs which enable them to wade through swamps and reed habitats. Predators include hyenas, leopards, crocodiles, pythons and sometimes lions.
Population status: Rare. Estimated numbers: No records. Endangered in Gambia, extinct in Guinea-Bissao, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast. Endangered in Nigeria and Liberia; rare in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe; probably also in Ethiopia.
Brief notes:
Body weight: 100-125 kg
Head and body length: 150-170 cm
Tail length: 20-30 cm
Shoulder height: 90-100 cm
Gestation period: 225 days
Maximum age: 19 years
Trophy: Record SCI: Tragelaphus sp. spekei: 68 score, 1977 Sudan, CAROLL MANN III; average 60 score. Tragelaphus sp. sylvestris: 62 3/8 score, 1963 Uganda, C.J. MCELROY; average 50 score. Tragelaphus sp. selousi: 81 6/8 score, 1978 Botswana, KEITH E. DOLBY; average 60 score. Tragelaphus sp. gratus: 83 1/8 score, 1977 Liberia, CHARLES E. CRAVER. Tragelaphus sp. larkeni: 73 7/8 score, 1983 Sudan, PHILIP ARCIERO. RW’s: Tragelaphus sp. spekei: 35″, British Museum (ROTHSCHILD); average 25″. Tragelaphus sp. gratus: 34 7/8″, C.R. STEGALL; average 25″. Tragelaphus sp. selousi: 36 3/8″, Zambia, H.J. SIEMSSEN; average 27″. Tragelaphus sp. sylvestris: 30 3/4″, 1958 Lake Victoria, F.K. KATZ; average 22″. CIC: Tragelaphus sp. gratus: 176,5 points, 1955 Zaire, DR. SCHOUTEDEN; average 155 points.
Hunting methods: Stalking, by boat.
Subspecies: 5
1. Tragelaphus sp. spekei East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan. Rare.
2. Tragelaphus sp. sylvestris Lake Victoria, Nkose and Sess Island. Rare.
3. Tragelaphus sp. larkenii East Sudan. Rare.
4. Tragelaphus sp. gratus From Gambia, West Africa west to Central African Republic, Zaire and northern Angola. Rare.
5. Tragelaphus sp. selousi Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, south-eastern Angola, Namibia (Caprivi-Strip). Vulnerable.
Remarks: Populations are declining due to uncontrolled hunting. More information required on distribution and population status.