Roan Antelope | African Wildlife Foundation

Roan antelope are threatened
by poaching and habitat loss

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Roan Antelope

Conservation Status:

Least Threatened

  • Can run up to 35 miles per hour
  • Total population of 76K is estimated
  • Regionally extinct in 2 African countries

Quick Facts

Scientific name

Hippotragus equinus

Weight

570 to 615 lb.

Size

55 in. at the shoulder

Life span

17 years

Habitat

Savannas, woodlands, and grasslands

Diet

Herbivorous

Gestation

Approximately 9 months

Predators

Hyenas, leopards, wild dogs, humans

Habitat

Where do roan antelope live?

Roan antelopes can be found in savannas—primarily in West and Central Africa. They prefer open or lightly wooded grassland, with medium to tall grass, and water access. 

Tags: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DRC, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kazungula, Regional Parc W, Zambezi, East Africa, Southern Africa, West/Central Africa View Africa | Habitat

Physical Characteristics

What is a roan antelope?

The roan antelope is one of Africa’s largest bovids, only exceeded in size by the African buffalo and eland. It has a grey or brown coat, a black-and-white clown-like facemask—that is darker in males than females—and long, tasseled ears. Both sexes have backward-curving horns, although they are shorter in the females. 

Behavior & Diet

Roan antelopes do not like variety.

They prefer to graze on grass but will occasionally also feed on shrubs, herbs, and Acacia tree pods. They must drink regularly and inhabit areas where water is easily accessible. 

They can have violent tempers.

While they do not have fixed territories, dominant males will exclude others from a 500-mile radius around its herd, consisting of anywhere from six to 20 females and young. When two adult males encounter each other, it is common for them to fight for dominance of their herd. They brandish their horns, run forward, and drop to their knees while clashing their large horns together. 

They play hide-and-seek with their young.

Roan antelopes breed year-round, but births are more common during the rainy season. When the calf is born, its mother conceals it in tall grass and does not wander too far from it. 

Gallery
  • Video: Buffalo Herd

    Buffalo Herd Buffalo are found throughout the northern and southern African savanna, as well as the lowland rain forest. For more information: http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/buffalo
  • Video: Bonobo

    Bonobo Our closest cousins, bonobos share 98.4 percent of our genetic makeup. For more information: http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/bonobo
  • Video: Bats

    Bats After rodents, bats are the most numerous mammals on earth. African bats fall into two major categories: large fruit bats and smaller, insect-eating bats, neither of which attacks people. For more information: http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/bat
  • Video: Lion

    Lion When resting, lions seem to enjoy good fellowship with lots of touching, head rubbing, licking, and purring. For more info: http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/lion
  • Video: Gorilla

    Gorilla The world's remaining mountain gorillas live in three countries spanning four national parks—Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park. For more info: http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/mountain-gorilla
  • Video: Rhinoceros

    Rhinoceros There are two species of African rhinos, the white rhino and black rhino. For more info: http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/rhinoceros
  • Video: Hippopotamus

    Hippopotamus Two hippo species are found in Africa. The large hippo and the pygmy hippopotamus. For more info: http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/hippopotamus
  • Video: Congo Agricultural Reactivation and Shipping Project

    Congo Agricultural Reactivation and Shipping Project In AWF's Congo Heartland, our team is implementing several conservation actions designed to support local communities, while lessening the burden on the bonobos who inhabit the forests.
  • Video: Zebra

    Zebra Plains zebras live in small family groups called "harems." For more info: http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/zebra
Challenges

The roan antelope is losing its living spaces.

It has been eliminated from parts of its former range due to habitat loss resulting from human activity, such as agricultural expansion and new road and settlement construction.

Poaching is also taking its toll on the roan antelope. 

Hunting outside of protected areas is persistent. 

Solutions

Our solutions to preserving the roan antelope:

  • Create more protected areas.

    African Wildlife Foundation works with governments and communities to set aside land for wildlife corridors—larges areas of land that wildlife can use to travel between parks and countries. Corridors give creatures, like the roan antelope, the ability to roam freely and safely as they move in search of water, travel to calving grounds, and look for food.

  • Improve livelihoods.

    AWF works with communities to identify opportunities for sustainable livelihood improvement. In Siavonga, Zambia, where local populations earn large populations of goats, we focused on livestock production. Due to food security challenges, local communities were turning to unsustainable land-use activities, including charcoal burning, quarry stone crushing, and slash-and-burn agriculture. To alleviate food security problems and increase revenue while reducing wildlife habitat loss, AWF piloted a commercial goat enterprise that included finding markets where goats could be sold at competitive prices and training farmers in goat husbandry and financial management. 

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