Game animals

Lion

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Scientific Name: Panthera leo
Family group: Felidae
Age: 20 years
Average shoulder height: 1.06 m (42”)
Average mass: 210 kg (460 lb)
Habitat: Widespread in savannah and semi-desert areas. Availability of especially medium-sized to large game is an important requirement. Also essential are shade for resting during the day and other shelter for stalking its prey.
Diet: Carnivore. Anything from mice to buffalo and even young elephants. Prefers blue wildebeest, impala and zebras. In the arid Kalahari desert their main prey is gemsbok. Independent of water.
Breeding: One to four (occasionally six) cubs are born at any time during the year after a gestation period of +/- 3 months.

Vocalization: Well-known roar, gradually getting shorter and softer.
The lion is the tallest (at the shoulder) of the felines, and is also the second-heaviest feline after the tiger. With powerful legs, a strong jaw, and 8 cm (3.1 in) long canine teeth, the lion can bring down and kill large prey. Lion coloration varies from light buff to yellowish, reddish or dark ochraceous brown. The underparts are generally lighter and the tail tuft is black. Lion cubs are born with brown rosettes (spots) on their body, rather like those of a leopard. Although these fade as lions reach adulthood, faint spots can still often be seen on the legs and underparts, particularly on lionesses. The white lion is not a distinct subspecies, but a special morph with a genetic condition, leucism, that causes paler colouration akin to that of the white tiger; the condition is similar to melanism, which causes black panthers.
Lions are the only members of the cat family to display obvious sexual dimorphism—that is, males and females look distinctly different, as a consequence of the specialized roles that each play in the pride. For instance, the lioness, as the hunter, lacks the male’s thick mane, which would impede her ability to camouflage when stalking the prey. The colour of the male’s mane varies from blond to black, generally becoming darker as the lion grows older.
The head of the male lion is one of the most widely recognized animal symbols in human culture.
Should they survive the rigors of cubhood, lionesses in secure habitat such as Kruger National Park may frequently reach an age of 12–14 years whereas lions seldom live for longer than 8 years. However, there are records of lionesses living for up to 20 years in the wild. In captivity both male and female lions can live for over 20 years.
Lions spend much of their time resting and are inactive for about 20 hours per day. Although lions can be active at any time, their activity generally peaks after dusk with a period of socializing, grooming and defecating. Intermittent bursts of activity follow through the night hours to dawn, when hunting most often takes place. They spend an average of two hours a day walking and 50 minutes eating.


Elephant

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Scientific Name: Loxodonta africana
Family group: Elephantidae
Age: 50 to 70 years
Average shoulder height: 4 m and 7 m long
Average mass: 5,000 kg
Habitat: Found in areas ranging from the arid Kaokoland to dense forest and savannah or forest recording a high rainfall. Clear drinking water, other permanent water, shade and enough food (grass and branches) are essential. Dependent on water.
Diet: Branches, grass, leaves, bark, reed and fruit. May drink water once in four days or even daily. Water for drinking must be clear, may even dig in the sand for water.
Breeding: 22 months, with a single young (rarely two).
Vocalization: Screams and trumpets. Keeps contact by deep rumbling.

The Elephants of the genus Loxodonta, known collectively as African elephants, are currently found in 37 countries in Africa.
African elephants have traditionally been classified as a single species comprising two distinct subspecies, namely the savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) and the forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis), but recent DNA analysis suggests that these may actually constitute distinct species.
The largest elephant ever recorded was shot in Angola in 1956. This male weighed about 12,000 kilograms (26,000 lb), with a shoulder height of 4.2 metres (14 ft), a metre (yard) taller than the average male African elephant.
Elephants are colloquially called pachyderms (from their original scientific classification), which means thick-skinned animals. An elephant’s skin is extremely tough around most parts of its body and measures about 2.5 centimetres (1.0 in) thick. However, the skin around the mouth and inside of the ear is paper-thin. The species of elephants are typically greyish in colour, but the Africans very often appear brown or reddish from wallowing in mud holes of coloured soil. Wallowing is an important behaviour in elephant society. Not only is it important for socialization, but the mud acts as a sunscreen, protecting their skin from harsh ultraviolet radiation. Although tough, an elephant’s skin is very sensitive. Without regular mud baths to protect it from burning, as well as from insect bites and moisture loss, an elephant’s skin would suffer serious damage. After bathing, the elephant will usually use its trunk to blow dirt on its body to help dry and bake on its new protective coat.
Elephants live in a structured social order. The social lives of male and female elephants are very different. The females spend their entire lives in tightly knit family groups made up of mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts. These groups are led by the eldest female, or matriarch. Adult males, on the other hand, live mostly solitary lives.


Cape Buffalo

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Scientific Name: Syncerus caffer
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 23 years
Average shoulder height: 1.70 m (67”)
Average mass: 785 kg (1725 lb)
Habitat: Enough edible grass, shade and water are important requirements. Preferential grass occurs in mopani and thornveld as well as in other types of woodland and open veld. Avoids floodpalins or grassveld that is far from the shade trees.
Diet: Grass, drinks water regularly (twice a day, early morning and late afternoon if available).
Breeding: 11 months, with a single young.
Vocalization: Bellows like cattle or grunts when in a fight.

The African Buffalo or Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a large African bovid. It is up to 1.7 meters high, 3.4 meters long. Savannah type buffaloes weigh 500-900 kg, with only males, normally larger than females, reaching the upper weight range. Forest type buffaloes are only half that size. The African Buffalo is not closely related to the slightly larger Wild Asian Water Buffalo, but its ancestry remains unclear. Owing to its unpredictable nature which makes it highly dangerous to humans, it has not been domesticated, unlike its Asian counterpart, the Domestic Asian Water Buffalo.
Herd size is highly variable. The basic herds consist of related females, and their offspring, in an almost linear dominance hierarchy. The basic herds are surrounded by sub-herds of bachelor males, high-ranking males and females, and old or invalid animals. The young males keep their distance from the dominant bull, who is recognizable by the thickness of his horns.
Adult bulls will spar in play, dominance interactions or actual fights. When sparring the bulls twist their horns from side to side. If the sparring is for play the bulls may rub each other’s faces and bodies during the sparring session. Actual fights are violent but rare and brief. Calves may also spar in play but adult females rarely spar at all.
When chased by predators a herd will stick close together and make it hard for the predators to pick off one member. Calves are gathered in the middle. Buffalo will try to rescue a member who has been caught. A calf’s distress call will get the attention of not only the mother but also the herd. Buffalo will engage in mobbing behavior when fighting off predators. They have been recorded treeing lions for two hours, after the lions have killed a member of their group. Lion cubs can get killed and trampled.
Known as one of the “big five” or “Black Death” in Africa, the African Buffalo is widely regarded as a very dangerous animal, as it gores and kills several people every year. Buffalo are notorious among big game hunters as very dangerous animals, with wounded animals reported to ambush and attack pursuers.
The current status of African cape buffalo is dependent on the existence of the animal’s value to both trophy hunters and tourists, paving the way for conservation efforts through anti-poaching patrols, village crop damage payouts, and CAMPFIRE payback programs to local areas.



White Rhinoceros

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Scientific Name: Ceratotherium Simun
Family group: Rhinocerotidae
Age: 45 years
Average shoulder height: 1.70 m (67”)
Average mass: 2,150 kg  (4,730 lb)
Habitat: Grass plains with open marshes and enough water. Important requirements include areas with short grass, availability of water to drink as well as water to bath in, thickets for shelter and fairly flat terrain.
Diet: Grass, especially short grass. Drinks water when available.
Breeding: 16 months, with a single calf.
Vocalization: Pants to keep contact. Blows, snorts, yells and growls.

The White Rhinoceros is one of the five species of rhinoceros that still exist and is one of the few megafauna species left. Behind only the Elephant, it is probably the most massive remaining land animal in the world. It is well known for its wide mouth used for grazing and for being the most social of all rhino species. The White Rhino is the most common of all rhinos and consists of two subspecies, with the northern subspecies being rarer than the southern. The northern subspecies may have as few as 13 remaining world-wide – 9 captive and 4 wild – although the wild population has not been seen since 2006 and may have disappeared entirely.
A popular theory of the origins of the name White Rhinoceros is a mistranslation from Dutch into Afrikaans and English. The Afrikaans word “wit”, meaning “white” in English is said to have been derived by mistranslation of the Dutch word “wijde”, which means “wide” in English and is spelt “wyd” in Afrikaans. The word “wide” refers to the width of the Rhinoceros mouth. So early European settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the “wyd” for “white” and the rhino with the wide mouth ended up being called the White Rhino and the other one, with the narrow pointed mouth, was called the Black Rhinoceros.
It has a massive body and large head, a short neck and broad chest. The head and body length is 3.4 to 4.2 m (11 to 13.75 ft), with the tail adding another 50 to 70 cm (20 to 27.5 in). The shoulder height is 150-185 cm (59-73 inches). Weight typically ranges from 1,440 to 3,600 kg (3,168 to 7,920 lbs), with the male being slightly heavier. The record-sized White Rhinoceros was about 4500 kg (10,000 lb). On its snout it has two horns made of keratin, rather than bone as in deer antlers. The front horn is larger that the other horn. The White Rhinoceros also has a noticeable hump on the back of its neck which supports its large head. Each of the rhino’s four stumpy feet has three toes. The colour of this animal ranges from yellowish brown to slate grey. The only hair on them is on the ear fringes and tail bristles. White Rhinos have the distinctive flat broad mouth which is used for grazing.
Its ears can move independently to pick up more sounds but it depends most of all on smell. The olfactory passages which are responsible for smell are larger than their entire brain.


Black Rhinoceros

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Scientific Name: Diceros bicornis
Family group: Rhinocerotidae
Age: 40 years
Average shoulder height: 1.60 m (63”)
Average mass: 1,136 kg  (2,500 lb)
Habitat: Woodland with thickets for shelter and water to drink and bathe in. Shrubs and trees of up to 4 metres are essential for browsing (will even push down trees to reach the leaves). Dependent on water, seldom moves further than 15 km from water.
Diet: Leaves, small branches, sticks and thorns. When available, drinks water daily, usually at night. Sometimes digs in the sand if water has dried up.
Breeding: 15 months, with a single calf.
Vocalization: Snorts, screams and growls. Cows call calves with a ‘mewing’sound.

The Black Rhinoceros is native to the eastern and central areas of Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Although the Rhino is referred to as black, it is actually more of a grey/brown/white colour in appearance. The name of the species was chosen to distinguish it from the White Rhinoceros. This is misleading, as those two species are not really distinguishable by colour.
The horns are used for defense, intimidation, and digging up roots and breaking branches during feeding. Skin colour depends more on local soil conditions and the rhinoceros’ wallowing behavior than anything else, so many black rhinos are typically not truly black in colour. The Black Rhino is much smaller than the White Rhino, and has a long, pointed, and prehensile upper lip, which it uses to grasp leaves and twigs when feeding. It can also be recognized from the White Rhinoceros by its smaller skull and ears. They also do not have a distinguishing shoulder hump like the White Rhinoceros. Their thick layered skin protects the rhino from thorns and sharp grasses. Their skin harbors many external parasites, such as crabs, which are eaten by oxpeckers and egrets that live with the rhino. They have terrible eyesight, relying more on hearing and smell. They have large ears that rotate much like satellite dishes to detect any sound and a large nose that has an excellent sense of smell to detect predators.
Solitary animals with the exception of coming together to mate, mothers and calves will sometimes congregate in small groups for short periods of time. Males are not as sociable as females, although they will sometimes allow the presence of other rhinos. They are not very territorial and often intersect other rhino territories.
The Black Rhino has a reputation for being extremely aggressive. They attack out of fear, confusion and panic. Due to their very poor eyesight they will charge if they sense a threat. They have even been observed to charge tree trunks and termite mounds. Males will fight sometimes by pushing head to head or horn jousting. They usually avoid other males when possible. Females are not aggressive towards each other.  They are very fast and can get up to speeds of 35 miles per hour (56kph) running on their toes.


Leopard

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Scientific Name: Panthera pardus
Family group: FelidaeAge: 20 years
Average shoulder height: .71 m (28”)
Average mass: 50 to 80 kg
Habitat: Very adaptable, occurring even in desert areas. Prefers stony hills, riverine forests, broken country, mountains and thickets. Prey and sufficient shelter such as rocks or bushes are essential.
Diet: Carnivore. From mice, dassies and bushpig to small and medium-sized antelope and the calves of larger antelope. By exception big game such as kudu. Independent of water. Breeding: Two to three (occasionally six) cubs are born at any time during the year after a gestation period of +/- 3 months.
Vocalization: Most common is a hoarse cough. Growls, grumbles and purrs.

The leopard has relatively short legs and a long body, with a large skull. Physically, it most closely resembles the jaguar, although it is usually smaller and of slighter build. Its fur is marked with rosettes which lack internal spots, unlike those of the jaguar. A melanistic morph of the leopard occurs, particularly in mountainous areas and rain forests. The black color is heritable and caused by recessive gene loci. (While they are commonly called black panthers, the term is not exclusive to leopards; it also applies to melanistic jaguars.)The species’ success in the wild owes in part to its opportunistic hunting behaviour, its adaptability to a variety of habitats and its ability to move at up to approximately 60 kilometres (37 miles) an hourThe leopard is an agile and stealthy predator. Although smaller than the other members of the Panthera genus, the leopard is still able to take large prey given a massive skull that well utilizes powerful jaw muscles. Its body is comparatively long for a cat and its legs are short.The leopard is known for its ability in climbing, and it has been observed resting on tree branches during the day and descending from trees headfirst. It is a powerful swimmer. The leopard is also very agile, and can run over sixty kilometres an hour, leap over six metres and jump up to three metres vertically. The leopard is primarily a nocturnal creature, and many of its operations are done by night. However, there have been recorded instances of leopards hunting during the light, especially when the sky is overcast. It spends much of its day resting and sleeping, up in the branches of trees, underneath rocks or in the grass. A male may follow a female who catches his attention. Eventually, a fight for reproductive rights may take place.The pregnant females find a cave, crevice among boulders, hollow tree, or thicket to give birth and make a den. Cubs open their eyes after a period of 10 days. The fur of the young tends to be longer and thicker than that of adults. Their pelage is also more gray in color with less defined spots. Around three months the infants begin to follow the mother out on hunts. At one year of age leopard young can probably fend for themselves but they remain with the mother for 18–24 months.


Greater Kudu

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Scientific Name:  Tragelaphus strepsiceros strepsiceros
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 14 years
Average shoulder height: 1.50 m
Average mass: 230 kg
Habitat: Savannah and open woodland (especially thornveld).
Diet: Leaves, sprouts, pods ans even fresh grass. Dependent on water.
Breeding: 7 months, with a single young.
Vocalization: A very loud hoarse cough.

They have a narrow body with long legs, and their coats can range from brown/bluish-grey to reddish-brown. They possess between 4–12 vertical white stripes along their torso. The head tends to be darker in colour than the rest of the body, and exhibits a small white chevron which runs between the eyes.
Male Greater Kudus tend to be much larger than the females, and vocalise much more, utilising low grunts, clucks, humming, and gasping.[citation needed] The males also have large manes running along their throats, and large horns with two and a half twists, which, were they to be straightened, would reach a length of 1 metre on average. However, the male horns do not begin to grow until the male is between the age of 6–12 months, twisting once at around 2 years of age, and not reaching the full two and a half twist until they are 6 years old.
Formerly four subspecies have been described, but recently only one to three subspecies have been accepted based on colour, number of stripes and horn length.

  • T. s. strepsiceros, southern parts of the range from southern Kenia to Namibia, Botswana and South Africa
  • T.  s. chora, northeastern Africa from northern Kenia through Ethiopia to eastern SUdan, western Somalia and Eritrea
  • T. s. cottoni, Chad and western Sudan

This classification was supported by the genetic difference of one specimen of northern Kenia (T. s. chora) in comparison with several samples from the southern part of the range between Tansania and Zimbabwe (T. s. strepsiceros). No specimen of the northwestern population, which may represent a third subspecies (T. s.  cottoni) was tested within this study
Also to consider East African Greater Kudu (bea) and Cape Kudu as sub species, as well as Lesser Kudu (tragelaphus imberbi)


Cape Eland

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Scientific Name: Taurotragus Oryx
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 15 to 18 years
Average shoulder height: 1.65 to 1.75 m
Average mass: 600 to 900 kg
Habitat: Very adaptable, Found from semi-desert shrubveld to different types of woodland and moist mountain grassland.
Diet: Mainly browsers, sometimes grass. Drink water regurlarly when available.
Breeding: 260 days, with a single young.
Vocalization: Females ‘moo’, calves bleat, adult bulls bellow, bark and grumble. 

A large antelope, the ground colour is a dull fawn with a dark brown mark on the rear of the foreleg behind the knee. The horns are massive, short, smooth and have a close screw-like spiral in the basal half. Both sexes have horns with the females having the longuest. As the male ages it becomes darker on the neck. The adult animal lacks the white body stripes prevalent in other subspecies. Old bulls grow a tuft of long hair on the forehead. It can jump up to 2m40 high. A characteristic clicking sound can be heard when they walk.
Eland is a genus of antelopes, containing two main species: the Common Eland, and the Giant Eland. The largest African antelope. In the 19th and 20th centuries, eland have been undergoing selection for meat quality and milk quantity in the Askaniya-Nova Zoological Park in the Ukraine. However domestication of the animal was unsuccessful. The largest of all african antelope Male 600kg-800kg, even a ton on rare occasions Female 400kg – 600kg.


 Springbok

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Scientific Name: Antidorcas Marsupialis
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 12 years
Average shoulder height: .74 m (29”)
Average mass: 35 kg (77 lb)
Habitat: Prefers dry open grass and shrubveld and dry river-beds. Important requirements are sufficient plants to feed on, bushes that are not too high and dense which block their movements and view. Avoids mountains, woodland and tall grass.
Diet: Grass, sprouts and leaves of Karoo bushes and other herbs. Subsists without water, but drinks when available, even stagnant water.
Breeding: 6 months, with a single young.
Vocalization: Low-pitched grumbling bellow.  Whistling snort when upset.

The Springbok (Afrikaans and Dutch: spring = jump; bok = antelope or goat) (Antidorcas marsupialis) is a medium sized brown and white gazelle that stands about 75 cm high.  Springbuck males weigh between 33-48 kg and the females between to 30-44 kg. Their colouring consists of three colours, white, reddish/tan and dark brown. Their backs are tan coloured and at the bottom they are white, along each side there is a dark brown stripe extending from the shoulder on towards the inside thigh.
They can reach running speeds of up to 80 km/h. The Latin name marsupialis derives from a pocket-like skin flap which extends along the middle of the back from the tail onwards. When the male springbok is showing off his strength to attract a mate, or to ward off predators, he starts off in a stiff-legged trot, jumping up into the air with an arched back every few paces and lifting the flap along his back. Lifting the flap causes the long white hairs under the tail to stand up in a conspicuous fan shape, which in turn emits a strong floral scent of sweat. This ritual is known as pronking from the Afrikaans, meaning to boast or show off.
Springbok inhabit the dry inland areas of south and southwestern Africa. Their range extends from the northwestern part of South Africa through the Kalahari desert into Namibia and Botswana. They used to be very common, forming some of the largest herds of mammals ever documented[1], but their numbers have diminished significantly since the 19th century due to hunting and fences from farms blocking their migratory routes.
Although they were once fairly scarce, Springbok numbers have drastically increased and they are now almost as abundant as before, thanks to conservation and efforts by the South African hunting industry.
Springbok are hunted as game throughout Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, because of their beautiful coats and because they are very common and easy to support on farms with very low rainfall, which means they are cheap to hunt as well. The export of springbok skins mainly from Namibia and South Africa is also a booming industry.
Conservation methods and responsible hunting restrictions prevent the decrease of numbers and ensure that they aren’t over-hunted.


Impala

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Scientific Name:

  • Southern: Aepyceros melampus melampus
  • Black-faced / Angolan: Aepyceros melampus petersi
  • East African: Aepyceros melampus rendilis

Family group: BovidaeAge: 12 years Average shoulder height: .90 m Average mass: 65 kg Habitat: Open or savannah woodlands, avoids open plains except when scattered woodlands are available.Diet: Leaves and grass. Dependent on water.Breeding: 6 months, with a single young.Vocalization: An alarm snort. Adult males make a roaring-rattling sound and snort, especially during the mating season.
Average mass for an Impala is approximately 75 kilograms. They are reddish-brown in colour , have lighter flanks and white underbellies with a characteristic “M” marking on its rear. Males have lyre-shaped horns which can reach up to 90 centimeters in length.
When frightened or startled the whole impala herd starts leaping about in order to confuse their predator. They can jump distances more than 9 meters (30 ft) and 2.5 meters (8 ft) high. Leopards, cheetah, Nile crocodiles, lions, spotted hyenas and wild dogs prey on impala.
Females and young form herds of up to two hundred individuals. When food is plentiful, adult males will establish territories and round up any female herd that enter their grounds and will chase away bachelor males that follow. They will even chase away recently weaned males. A male impala tries to prevent any female from leaving its territory. During the dry seasons, territories are abandoned as herds must travel farther to find food.  Large, mixed tranquil herds of females and males form.
Young male impala who have been made to leave their previous herd form bachelor herds of around thirty individuals. Males that are able to dominate their herd are contenders for assuming control of their territory.


Sable Antelope

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Scientific Name: Hippotragus NigerFamily
group: Bovidae
Age: 14 to 16 years Average shoulder
height: 1.45 m Average mass: 200 to 250 kg
Habitat: Hills and wooded savannah.
Diet: Mainly grass, sometimes leaves at the end of the dry season.
Drink water regularly.Breeding: 270 to 285 days, with a single young.
Sable antelope males are larger than females. Female Sable Antelope are chestnut to dark brown darkening as they mature while males are very distinctively black. Both sexes have a white underbelly, white cheeks and a white chin. They have a shaggy mane on the back of their neck.  Sable antelope have ringed horns which arch backward, in females these canreach a meter, but in males they can reach over one and a half meters.
They are diurnal but are less active during the heat of the day. Sable Antelope form herds of ten to thirty females and calves led by a single male. Sable Antelope males will fight among themselves; they drop to their knees and use their horns.


Blue wildebeest

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Scientific Name: Connochaetes taurinus taurinus
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 20 years
Average shoulder height: 1.30 m
Average mass: 200 to 280 kg
Habitat: Open savannah, especially thorn and tamboti woodland.
Diet: Mainly short grass of up to 15 cm. Sometimes also bark and leaves. Dependent on water.
Breeding: 8 months, with a single young (occasionally two).
Vocalization: Snorts, bellow and grunts. Small ones bleat, young ones make a ‘hunn’ sound.

It has a beefy muscular front-heavy appearance with a distinctive robust muzzle, it strides with relatively slender legs and moves gracefully and quietly most of the time, belying the reputation for stampeding in herds; however the stampeding characteristic may sometimes be observed.
Probably the most conspicuous feature of the Blue Wildebeest are the large horns shaped like parentheses, extending outward to the side and then curving up and inward . In the male the horns can attain a total span of almost 90 centimeters, while the female’s horn width is about half the size of the male. These cow-like horns of both sexes are somewhat broad at the base and are without ridges. However, as further sexual dimorphism, the male horns have a boss-like structure joining the two horns. The male is larger than the female with a total body length of up to 2.5 meters.
Young Blue Wildebeest are born tawny brown, and begin to take on their adult colouration at age nine weeks. The adult’s hue actually varies from a deep slate or bluish gray all the way to light gray or even grayish-brown. The dorsal coat and flanks are slightly lighter in hue than the ventral hide and underparts. Dark brown vertical bands of slightly longer hair mark the neck and forequarters, and from a distance lend a perception of skin wrinkling. The manes of both sexes appear long, stiff, thick and jet black, a colour assumed by the tail and face as well. Sexual dichromism is exhibited by the males displaying decidedly darker colouration than the females. All features and markings of this species are bilaterally symmetric for both sexes.
Blue Wildebeest are unusually territorial, adult males occupying their territories for a month or for the entire year. The physical size of territories ranges from one to two hectares. The bucks mark territory boundaries with dung heaps, preorbital gland secretions, hoof scent glands and pawing of the earth. When competing over territory, males grunt quite loudly, make a thrusting motion with their horns and perform other displays of aggression.


Black Wildebeest

wildebees
Scientific Name: Connochaetes gnou
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 20 years
Average shoulder height: 1.20 m
Average mass: 165 kg
Habitat: Open plains with water.
Diet: Grass and karro bushes. Dependent on water.
Breeding: 8 months, with a single young.
Vocalization: Snorts and a loud ‘ghe-nu’ sound by territorial males
The natural populations of this species, endemic to the southern region of Africa, have been almost completely exterminated, but the species has been reintroduced widely, both in private areas and nature reserves throughout most of Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, Namibia and Kenya
Gregarious, female herds, bachelor herds and territorial males can be distinguished. A territorial male is closely attached to its territory throughout the year, marking it with urine and glandular excretions; it is the only male that mates.  Female herds are allowed to pass freely through his territory.  Threatening behaviour-pawing or horning the ground and kneeling; serious fights are rare. Herds are active early in the morning and late afternoon. They rest during the heat of the day and these resting periods become shorter during winter.


Red Hartebeest

animal
Scientific Name: Alcelaphus caama
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 13 years
Average shoulder height: 1.24 m (49”)
Average mass: 155 kg (340 lb)
Habitat: Found in semi-desert savannah. May occur in open woodland but avoids dense woodland. Prefers open plains such as grassplains, floodplains, grassveld, vleis and the strips of grass around pans. Independent of water.
Diet: Grass, especially redgrass, also leaves. Drink when water is available.
Breeding: 8 months, with a single young.
Vocalization: Sneezing-snorting sound as alarm.
The word hartebeest comes from Afrikaans and was originally called hertebeest. The name was given by the Boers who thought it resembled deer (hert in Dutch, the Dutch ‘beest’ means ‘beast’ in English).
The Hartebeest stands almost 1.5 m (5 ft) at the shoulder and weighs anywhere from 120-200 kg (265-440 lb). Male Hartebeest are a dark brown colour while females are yellow brown. Both sexes have horns which can reach lengths up to 70 cm (27 in). Hartebeest live in grassland and open forest where they eat grass. They are diurnal and spend the morning and late afternoon eating.  Herds contain five to twenty individuals but can occasionally contain up to three hundred and fifty.

Six subspecies have been described, previously seven when it still included the Red Hartebeest which is now considered a distinct species after phylogeographic studies.

  • Bubal Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus buselaphus (Extinct)
  • Coke’s Hartebeest or Kongoni, Alcelaphus buselaphus cokii
  • Lelwel Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel
  • Western Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus major
  • Swayne’s Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus swaynei
  • Tora Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus tora

Gemsbuck / Oryx 

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Scientific Name: Oryx Gazella Beisa
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 12 to 14 years
Average shoulder height: 1.25 m (49”)
Average mass: 225 kg (495 lb)
Habitat: High plateaux which are fairly fertile except during the dry season. They can go for days without drinking and may be encountered very far from water.
Diet: Mainly herbivorous but also, particularly in the Southern part of its habitat, can enjoy a varied diet.
Breeding: 9 months, with a single young.
Vocalization: Between a growl and a bellow.

The East African Oryx (Oryx beisa), also known as the Beisa occurs in two subspecies, Common Beisa Oryx (Oryx beisa beisa) found in steppe and semi-desert throughout the Horn of Africa and north of the Tana River, and Fringe-eared Oryx (Oryx beisa callotis) south of the Tana River in Kenya and parts of Tanzania.
East African Oryx stand just over a metre at the shoulder and weigh around 175 kilograms. They have a grey coat with a white underside, separated from the grey by a stripe of black, there are also black stripes where the head attaches to the neck, along the nose and from the eye to the mouth and on the forehead. There is a small chestnut coloured mane. The ringed horns are thin and straight. They are found on both sexes and typically a measure of 75-80 cm is considered big.
East African Oryx are able to store water by raising their body temperature (so as to avoid perspiration). They gather in herds of five to forty animals often with females moving at the front and large male guarding from the rear. Some older males are solitary. Radio tracking studies show that solitary males are often accompanied for brief periods by breeding condition females, so it is probable they are executing a strategy to maximise their chances of reproduction.


Nyala

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Scientific Name: Tragelaphus Angasi
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 14 years
Average shoulder height: 1.12 m (44”)
Average mass: 110 kg (242 lb)
Habitat: Associated with thickets in dry woodland. This includes dense woodland, riverine forests, island bush in floodplains and other thickets.  Surrounding floodplains and grass plains are visited when grass sprouts.
Diet: Leaves, branches, fruit and flowers. Drink water daily when available.
Breeding: 7 months, with a single young.
Vocalization: Female makes a ‘click’ sound, young ones bleat. Males have a deep bark as an alarm call.
The name “Nyala” is the Swahili name for this antelope. The Latin name comes from “tragos” (he-goat), “elaphos” (deer), and George Francis Angas, an English artist and naturalist.
The male stands up to 3.5 feet (110 cm), the female is up to 3 feet tall. The male has loosely spiraled horns and a long fringe on throat and underparts; the female has no horns and no noticeable fringe. The male is dark brown, white on the face and neck, with vertical white stripes on the body. The female is reddish brown with clear striping.
The rare Mountain Nyala (Tragelaphus buxtoni) is limited to central Ethiopia. While superficially similar to the lowland nyala, it is now considered more closely related to the kudu.
Form temporary herds of 3-30 animals with home ranges overlapping. Solitary young ones, females and males, young male herds, adult male herds, female herds, family herds and mixed herds can be distinguished. Family herds are the most stable of all.  The male horns the ground or lifts its mane when another male is nearby.  Feeds when it is cool, even at night, and rest during the hottest part of the day.


Common Blesbuck

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Scientific Name: Damaliscus Dorcas Phillipsii
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 10 to 15 years
Average shoulder height: .90 to 1 m
Average mass: 40 to 55 kg
Habitat: Grass plains.
Diet: Grass, preferably sweet with sufficient drinking water.
Breeding: +/- 245 days, with a single young.
Vocalization: Snorts and growls.
The Blesbok, or Blesbuck, (Damaliscus dorcas phillpsi) is related to the Bontebok (Damaliscus dorcas dorcas) and it is purplish antelope with a distinctive white face and forehead. Its white face is the origin of its name, because ‘bles’ is the Afrikaans word for blaze. Although they are close relatives of the Bontebok and they can interbreed creating an animal known as the Bontebles they do not share habitat, the Bontebok being found in large numbers on from as far south as Eastern Cape, the plains of the Free State and the Transvaal Highveld. They are a plains species and dislike wooded areas. The blesbuck is indigenous to South Africa and are found in large numbers in all national parks with open grasslands. They were first discovered in the 17th century, and were found in numbers so numerous that herds that reached from horizon to horizon where documented.
The neck and the top of the back of the blesbuck are brown. Lower down on the flanks and buttocks, the coloring becomes darker. The belly, the inside of the buttocks and the area up to the base of the tail are white. Blesbucks can be easily differentiated from other antelopes because they have a distinct white face and forehead.  The legs are brown with a white patch behind the top part of the front legs. Lower legs whitish. Both sexes have horns, female horns are slightly more slender. The blesbok differs from the bontebok by having less white on the coat and the blaze on the face, which is usually divided, their coats are also a lighter brown than that of the bontebok.  The length of their horns averages at around 38cm.
White and Yellow Blesbuck are also to be found in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.


Duikers

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Scientific Name: Cephalophus
Family group: Bovidae
Age: 6-12 years
Average shoulder height: .35 m to .80 m (14” to 32”)
Average mass: 5 – 60 kg  (11 – 132 lb)
Habitat: From woodland with sufficient undergrowth and thickets, to rainforests and gallery forest.
Diet: Leaves, wild fruits, flowers, vegetables and seed.
Breeding: A single lamb.
Vocalization: A piercing alarm whistle. Loud ‘mew’, like a cat, when in danger.
A duiker is any of about 19 small to medium-sized antelope species from the subfamily Cephalophinae.
Duikers are shy and elusive creatures with a fondness for dense cover; most are forest dwellers and even the species living in more open areas are quick to disappear into thickets. Their name comes from the Afrikaans word for diver and refers to their practice of diving into tangles of shrubbery.
With a slightly arched body and the front legs a little shorter than the hind legs, they are well-shaped to penetrate thickets. They are primarily browsers rather than grazers, eating leaves, shoots, seeds, fruit, buds and bark, and often follow flocks of birds or troops of monkeys to take advantage of the fruit they drop. They supplement their diet with meat: duikers take insects and carrion from time to time, and even stalk and capture rodents or small birds. The Blue Duiker has a fondness for ants.
The Blue Duiker is the smallest and the yellow-backed duiker is the biggest of the family.


Caracal

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Scientific Name: Felis caracal
Family group: Felidae
Age: 12 years
Average shoulder height: .45m (18”)
Average mass: 17 kg  (37 lb)
Habitat : Found in fairly arid areas, but also in thickets and riverine forests in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The presence of prey is important. Independent of water.
Diet: Predator feeding on birds, reptiles, small mammals, sheep and goats. Can even overwhelm medium-sized antelope. Breeding: 3 months, with an average litter of three young.
Vocalization: High-pitched bird-like call.  It has longer legs and a slimmer appearance than a European lynx. The colour of the fur is variable: it may be wine-red, grey or sand-coloured. Melanistic (black) Caracals also occur. Young Caracals bear reddish spots on the underside; adults do not have markings except for black spots above the eyes. The most conspicuous feature of the Caracal is elongated, tufted black ears, which also explain the origin of its name – karakulak, Turkish for “black ear”. Its ears, which it uses to locate prey, are controlled by 20 different muscles. It hunts at night (but in colder seasons also in the daytime) for rodents and hares; rarely it may even attack a gazelle, a small antelope or a young ostrich. It is a picky eater, and discards the internal organs of the mammals it catches, partially plucks the fur off hyraxes and larger kills, and avoids eating hair by shearing meat neatly from the skin. However, it will eat the feathers of small birds and is tolerant of rotten meat. It is most well-known for its skill at hunting birds; the Caracal is able to snatch a bird in flight, sometimes more than one at a time. The Caracal can jump and climb exceptionally well, which enables it to catch hyraxes better than probably any other carnivore. Since it is also surprisingly easy to tame, it has been used as a hunting cat in Iran and India. Because it is so easily tamed, the Caracal is sometimes kept as a pet, and is said to adapt easily to living with humans. It is often viewed as vermin by farmers in Africa because it frequently climbs over fences to eat chickens and other poultry. The Caracal is almost impossible to see in the wild, not because there are very few of them, but because it hides extremely well. Game drives in countries such as Kenya and Botswana widely encounter other animals, but a sighting of a Caracal is extremely rare.  


Warthog

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Scientific Name: Phacochoerus africanus
Family group: Suidae
Age: 20 years
Average shoulder height: .70 m (28”)
Average mass: 80 kg (176 lb)
Habitat: Areas with short grass and mud pools. Prefers open woodland, grass plains (especially floodplains), vleis and open areas surrounding pans and waterholes. Likes areas where new grass grows following a fire. Avoids dense thickets and forest areas.
Diet: Grass, rhizomes and wild fruit. Drinks water regularly when available.
Breeding: 5 months, with one to eight young.
Vocalization: Growls, snorts and grunts. The male snaps its jaws as an overture to mating
A warthog is identifiable by the two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth, which are used as weapons against predators. The upper canine teeth can grow to 9 inches (23 cm), and are of a squashed circle shape in cross section, almost rectangular, being about 1¾ in (4.5 cm) deep and 1 in (2.5 cm) wide. The tusk will curve 90 degrees or more from the root, and the tusk will not lie flat on a table, as it curves somewhat backwards as it grows. The tusks are used for digging, for combat with other hogs, and in defence against predators—the lower set can inflict severe wounds.
Warthog ivory is taken from the constantly growing canine teeth. Each warthog has a pair of teeth in each jaw with the lower teeth being far shorter than the upper teeth. Both pairs grow upwards, with the upper teeth being by far the more spectacular in appearance. The lower pair, however, are the more dangerous: the teeth are straight, sharply pointed, and keep a keen edge by the upper pair rubbing against the lower pair. The tusks, more often the upper set, are worked much in the way of elephant tusks with all designs scaled down. Tusks are carved predominantly for the tourist trade in East and Southern Africa.
The male is called a boar, the female a sow, and the young piglets. A group is called a sounder.
Warthogs are powerful diggers, using both heads and feet. When feeding, they often bend the front legs backwards and move around staying on the knees. Although they can dig their own burrows, they commonly occupy abandoned burrows of aardvarks or other animals. The warthog commonly enters burrows “back-end first”, with the head always facing the opening and ready to burst out as needed. Warthogs are fast runners and quite capable jumpers. They will often run with their tails in the air. Despite poor eyesight, warthogs have a good sense of smell, which they use for locating food, detecting predators and recognizing other animals.
Although capable of fighting, and males will aggressively fight each other during mating season, a primary defense is to flee by means of fast sprinting. The main warthog predators are humans, lions, leopards, crocodiles, and hyenas. Cheetahs are also capable of catching small warthogs.


Bushpig

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Scientific Name: Potamochoerus larvatus
Family group: Suidae
Age: 20 years
Average shoulder height: .75 m (30”)
Average mass: 65 kg (145 lb)
Habitat: Thick shelter and water are essential. Prefers coastal, mountainous and riverine forests, thickets, reed patches and tall grass near water. Found only under these conditions, even in dry country.
Diet: They are Omnivorous and their diet could include roots, crops, carrion, as well as newborn lambs. Digs in soft soil for rhizomes, bulbs and tubers. Also eats earthworms, vegetables, chikens, leaves and wild fruit that have fallen.
Breeding: 4 months, with three to eight young.
Vocalization: Groans while eating. Alarm call is a long protracted growl.
The Bushpig (Potamochoerus larvatus) is a very hairy member of the pig family that lives in forest thickets, riverine vegetation and reedbeds close to water. They are mainly nocturnal and are seldom seen during the day. They resemble the domestic pig and are identified by the blunt, muscular snout, small eyes, and pointed, tufted ears. Their colour varies from reddish-brown to dark brown and becomes darker with age. Both sexes have a lighter coloured mane which bristles when the animal becomes agitated. The upper parts of the face and ears are also lighter in colour. Sharp tusks are not very long and are not conspicuous. Unlike the Warthog, the Bushpig runs with its tail down. Males are normally larger than females.
The Bushpig should not be confused with the Red River Hog, Potamochoerus porcus.
Bushpigs are quite social animals and are found in sounders of up to 12 members. A typical group will consist of a dominant male and a dominant female, with other females and juveniles accounting for the rest. Litters of 3-4 young are born in summer after a gestation period of ± 4 months. Bushpigs can be very aggressive, especially when they have young.


Burchell Zebra

zebra
Scientific Name: Equus burchellii
Family group: Equidae
Age: 20 years
Average shoulder height: 1.3 m (males)
Average mass: 290 – 340 kg
Habitat: Occurs in the Eastern and Southern parts of Africa mainly open woodlands and grassland Savanna . Dependent on water.
Diet: Grazer.
Breeding: 12 months, with single foal.
Vocalization: Their barking kwa-ha-ha is one of the distinctive calls of the African savannas .