Conservation Science

Spiral-horned antelope conservation genetics

The spiral horned antelopes (Tragelaphini) are a group of charismatic sub-Saharan antelope that includes the bongo, kudu and Western Derby eland, the world’s largest antelope. Our research focuses on the population genetic management of captive breeding populations.

Antelope populations globally are in decline, threatened by over-hunting, habitat destruction and land use change.  The spiral-horned antelope (Tragelaphini) are comprised of at least nine species whose conservation status ranges from Least Concern through to Endangered, with specific populations under severe pressure in the wild.  Captive populations distributed across zoos and private collections represent a potential reservoir of individuals for reintroduction, however little is known about their wild provenance, genetic diversity or possible hybrid status. 


The conservation genetics team is working with the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague on a genetic management programme to evaluate diversity within six species of spiral-horned antelope in European zoos, including bongo, kudu, eland and nyala.  For more information on this research contact Rob Ogden.