Alcelaphus buselaphus tora Gray, 1873

Tora hartebeest



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Alcelaphus tora (Gray, 1873)


Conservation Status

Missing (IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group, 2017; Gippoliti et al., 2018)

Last record: 1998 (IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group, 2017); "Possibly extinct 2010" (Gippoliti et al., 2018)

IUCN RedList status: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct)



Sudan and Ethiopia


Biology & Ecology

The little known about the (sub)species has been gleaned from museum specimens and the accounts of old hunters (Gippoliti, 2023:263).






"Two photos are published by Calciati & Bracciani (1927), one showing a female clearly at the end of its gestation period."

(Gippoliti, 2023:263)



Original scientific description:

Gray, J. E. (1873). On a new species of Bubaline (Alcelaphus tora) from Abyssinia. Annals Mag. nat. Hist., London (4) 12: 341-342.


Other references:

Butler, A. L. (1951). Chapter Three. The game animals of the Blue Nile (pp. 137-149). In: Maydon, H. C. (ed.). Big game shooting in Africa. Seeley, London. 445 pp.

Butynski, T. (1995). Eritrea. Gnusletter 1: 11.

Calciati, C. and Bracciani, L. (1927). Nel Paese dei Cunama. Missione Corni-Calciati-Bracciani in Eritrea 1922-1923. Unitas, Milano. xiv + 316 pp.

Cotton, W. B. (1912). Sport in the Eastern Sudan. London: Rowland Ward. 285 pp.

East, Rod. (1999). African Antelope Database 1998. Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 21. IUCN/SSC Antelope Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. x + 434pp.

Flagstad, O., Syvertsen, P. O., Stenseth, N. C. and Jakobsen, K. S. (2001). Environmental change and rates of evolution: The phylogeographic pattern within the hartebeest complex as related to climatic variation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences 268: 667-677.

Gippoliti, Spartaco. (2018). An extinct - and overlooked - species in the hall: Alcelaphus tora in Italian Museums. Preprint. doi:

Gippoliti, Spartaco. (2023). Tora hartebeest Alcelaphus tora Gray, 1873 and allied forms in Italian museums, with taxonomic considerations (Mammalia, Bovidae, Alcelaphinae). Annali Museo civico Storia Naturale "G. Doria" 116: 261-278.

Gippoliti, S., Amori, G., Castiglia, R., Colangelo, P. and Capanna, E. (2014). The relevance of Italian museums for research and conservation: the case of mammals. Rendiconti Lincei Scienze Fisiche e Naturali 25: 351-357.

Gippoliti, Spartaco, Cotterill, Fenton P. D., Zinner, Dietmar and Groves, Colin P. (2018). Impacts of taxonomic inertia for the conservation of African ungulate diversity: an overview. Biological Reviews 93(1): 115-130.

Gippoliti, Spartaco, Cotterill, F. P. D, Groves, Colin P. and Zinner, D. (2018a). Poor taxonomy and genetic rescue are possible co-agents of silent extinction and biogeographic homogenization among ungulate mammals. Biogeographia—The Journal of Integrative Biogeography 33: 41-54.

Gippoliti, Spartaco, Hagos, F. and Angelici, F. M. (2018b). Eritrean ungulates in Italian museums as benchmark for taxonomy and conservation planning. Hystrix It J Mamm. Suppl. 2018: 30.

Groves, Colin P. and Grubb, P. (2011). Ungulate Taxonomy. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 309 pp.

Hashim, I. M. (1996). Sudan. IUCN-ASG Antelope Survey Update, Dez 1996/3: 34-41.

Hashim, I. M. (1998). Sudan - Status, Abundance and Distribution of Four Endangered Wildlife Species in Eastern Sudan. Gnusletter, 17(2): 12-16.

Heckel, J.-O. (2009). The present status of hartebeest subspecies (Alcelaphus buselaphus ssp.) with special focus on north-east Africa and the Tora hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus tora) (pp. 141-156). In: Riemer H., Förster F., Herb M. & Pöllath N.(eds). Desert animals in the eastern Sahara: Status, economic signifcance, and cultural refection in antiquity - Heinrich-Barth Institut e.v., Cologne, 369 pp.

Heckel, J.-O., Wilhelmi, F., Kaariye, H. Y. and Gebeyehu, G. (2008). Preliminary Status Assessment Survey of the Critically Endangered Tora hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus tora) and Further Wild Ungulates in North-western Ethiopia. IUCN/SSC Antelope SpecialistGroup Gland, Switzerland.

Huet, M. (1884). Note sur les naissances, dons et acquisitions de la Ménagerie du Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle - Bull. Soc. nat. Acclimat. France, Paris, (4) 1: 126-130.

Huet, M. (1887). Liste des espèces connues et décrites dans le Famille des Antilopidés présentées par régions - Bull. Soc. nat. Acclimat. France, Paris, (4) 4: 65-84.

IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. (2017). Alcelaphus buselaphus ssp. tora. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T810A50180985. Accessed on 05 July 2024.

Joslin, Paul and Maryanka, Daphne. (1968). Endangered Mammals of the World: Report on Status and Action Treatment. IUCN Publications, New Series, Supplementary Paper No. 13: 34 pp.

Mallon, D. (2015). Eritrea Reconnaissance. Gnusletter 32(2): 14-17.

Ruxton, A. E. and Schwarz, E. (1929). On hybrid hartebeests and on the distribution of Alcelaphus buselaphus. Proc. zool. Soc., London, 1929: 567-583.

Tedesco Zammarano, V. (1930). Le Colonie Italiane di diretto dominio. Fauna e Caccia - Ministero delle Colonie, Rome. 222 pp.

Weigl, R. (2005). Longevity of Mammals in captivity; from the living collections of the World - Kleine Senckenberger-Reihe, 48, Frankfurt am Main. 214 pp.


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