The Antelope Specialist Group (ASG) of the SSC/IUCN is very much concerned with the pressing need for action in preserving antelopes in general. Antelopes are subject to a number of surveys for assessing their conservation status. However, "counting antelopes does not save them". The ASG would like to take advantage of this knowledge cafe for addressing the specific issue of how to transform recommendations into action.
The resilience of antelopes is exposed to a broad range of threats, mainly of human origin, which tend to worsen. Habitat conversion for agriculture and over-harvesting for meat are among the prominent threats. Many antelope range States are developing countries coping with increasing needs for agricultural land and food security due to population growth. In this context, antelope conservation is hardly listed as a main priority.
Conservation successes do exist in some antelope range States and the question is raised whether lessons can be learnt and used for improving the situation elsewhere. The wildlife ranching industry has already succeeded to reconcile conservation and development by improving the conservation status of antelopes while contributing to the economy through income generating activities. In numerous instances, the tourism industry, both wildlife-viewing and hunting, has also succeeded to preserve very large tracts of natural habitat with all the associated biodiversity while maintaining some of the largest populations of antelopes and their predators. However, the bushmeat industry, an informal sector in many countries, is often affecting the conservation of antelopes, so that action is really required to make progress in terms of sustainability.
The ASG will gather and share this concern with other stakeholders including from IUCN. The debate will concentrate on identifying (i) the constraints limiting the implementation of recommendations and (ii) the actions needed for making effective progress in the field.