Dibatag, Ammodorcas clarkei

The dibatag (Ammodorcas clarkei), also known as Clarke’s gazelle, is native to Somalia and Ethiopia. Its range is significantly smaller than it once was, and in many areas, populations are fragmented. In the region of Ogaden, where it was once abundant, the northern populations have dwindled due to human civilizations taking over. In southern Ogaden, it is still present in acceptable numbers, most likely due to the natural vegetation and habitat required to sustain it. It prefers a habitat within arid and sandy grasslands.

The dibatag is actually an antelope, although it resembles a gazelle. Its tail is striped, and will rise if it feels threatened. This action grants it the local Somalia name meaning, “erect tail”. Males can weigh an average of up to 77 pounds, while females weigh less at 63 pounds.

Many things, including war in its Somalia range, hunting, drought, and the habitat loss that these factors cause, threaten the dibatag. There are currently no protected areas within its range, and no captive breeding populations. Despite this, conservationists have proposed efforts to save this species, with Ogaden being the only viable location for these efforts to prove successful. The dibatag appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Vulnerable”.

Image Caption: Ammodorcas clarkei. Credit: Joseph Smit/Wikipedia