Beira antelope – Dorcatragus megalotis

Antilope BeiraThe Beira antelope (or Beyrac in somali) is an arid-adapted endemic antelope species to the Horn of Africa. The Beira is the only representative within its monotypic genus belonging to the order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae and Neotraginiae. Its distribution is restricted to mountains, hills and plateaus mainly in Northern Somalia, with further rather small distribution areas in Southern Djibouti and Northeastern Ethiopia.

The general appearance of this beautiful species is klipspringer-like. The basic body fur color is grey, with reddish-ochre limbs, upper neck and head. The creamy-white under part is separated by a dark-Grey stripe reaching from elbows to thighs. Very distinctive are the very large ears. Horns are found in males only.

As browsers the Beiras depend on foliage of various shrubs, herbs and succulent plants. The social structure is pairs and family groups, which defend territories. The Beira is listed as “vulnerable” in the 1996 IUCN Red List in Somalia and Ethiopia and as “possibly extinct” in Djibouti. Over some decades ago, the occurrence of the Beira antelope in Djibouti remained uncertain.

However, in 1992 its occurrence has been confirmed by sightings, photographs and video in Southern region of Djibouti in Ali-Sabieh but its population size and trends in Djibouti remains difficult. However, the regularity and circumstances of the sightings suggest that the species is rare but not endangered in Djibouti, at least for the time being.