Cape Wildlife Group
There are several species of African equids (horse family) united by their distinctive black and white striped coats. Their stripes come in different patterns, unique to each individual. They are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds. There are three species of zebras: the plains zebra, the mountain zebra and the Grévy’s zebra. They occur in a variety of habitats, such as grasslands, savannas, woodlands, thorny scrublands, mountains, and coastal hills.
The roan antelope is a savanna antelope found in West, Central, East and Southern Africa. Roan antelope are one of the largest species of antelopes, only Elands, Bongos and large male Kudus can exceed them in weight. Named for their roan colour (a reddish brown), they have lighter underbellies, white eyebrows and cheeks and black faces, lighter in females. The horns are ringed and can reach a metre long in males, slightly shorter in females.
The greater kudu is a woodland antelope found throughout eastern and southern Africa. They have a narrow body with long legs, and their coats can range from brown/bluish grey to reddish brown. They possess between 4 and 12 vertical white stripes along their torso. The horns do not begin to grow until the bull 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 twists until they are 6 years old; occasionally they may even have 3 full turns.
The impala is a medium-sized antelope found in eastern and southern Africa. It features a glossy, reddish brown coat. The male’s slender, lyre-shaped horns are 45–92 centimetres (18–36 inches) long. Browsers as well as grazers, impala feed on monocots, dicots, forbs, fruits and acacia pods (whenever available). Found in woodlands and sometimes on the interface between woodlands and savannahs; it inhabits places close to water.
The sable antelope is sexually dimorphic, with the male heavier and about one-fifth taller than the female. The sable antelope has a compact and robust build, characterized by a thick neck and tough skin. It has a well-developed and often upright mane on its neck, as well as a short mane on the throat. Its general colouration is rich chestnut to black. Both sexes have ringed horns which arch backward. In females, these can reach 61–102 cm, while in males they are 81–165 cm long.
The springbok is a medium-sized antelope found mainly in southern and southwestern Africa. Both sexes have a pair of black, 35-to-50 cm long horns that curve backwards. The springbok is characterised by a white face, a dark stripe running from the eyes to the mouth, a light-brown coat marked by a reddish-brown stripe that runs from the upper fore leg to the buttocks across the flanks. Primarily a browser, the springbok feeds on shrubs and succulents; this antelope can live without drinking water for years, meeting its requirements through eating succulent vegetation.
The giraffe is the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant. The chief distinguishing characteristics are its extremely long neck and legs, its horn-like ossicones, and its distinctive coat patterns. Giraffes usually inhabit savannahs and woodlands. Their food source is leaves, fruits and flowers of woody plants.
The African buffalo or Cape buffalo is a large African bovine. The adult buffalo’s horns are its characteristic feature; they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield across the top of the head referred to as a “boss”. They are widely regarded as very dangerous animals, as according to some estimates they gore and kill over 200 people every year. Other than humans, African Cape buffaloes have few predators aside from lions and large crocodiles, and are capable of defending themselves. Being a member of the big five game, the Cape buffalo is a sought-after trophy in hunting.
The bontebok is a tall, medium-sized antelope. Males are slightly larger and noticeably heavier than females. The bontebok is a chocolate brown colour, with a white underside and a white stripe from the forehead to the tip of the nose, although there is a brown stripe across the white near the eyes in most blesbok. The bontebok also has a distinctive white patch around its tail. The horns of bontebok are lyre-shaped and clearly ringed. They are found in both sexes and can reach a length of half a metre.
The gemsbok is a large antelope in the genus Oryx. It is native to the arid regions of Southern Africa, such as the Kalahari Desert. Gemsbok are widely hunted for their spectacular horns that average 85 cm (33 in) in length. From a distance, the only outward difference between males and females is their horns. In males horns tend to be thicker with larger bases. Females have slightly longer, thinner horns.
The quagga was a plains zebra that lived in South Africa until becoming extinct late in the 19th century. It was distinguished from other zebras by its limited pattern of primarily brown and white stripes. The rear was brown and without stripes, and therefore more horse-like. In 1984, the quagga was the first extinct animal to have its DNA analysed, and the Quagga Project is trying to recreate the phenotype of hair coat pattern and related characteristics by selectively breeding Burchell’s zebras.
The Nyala is a spiral-horned antelope native to southern Africa. The coat is rusty or rufous brown in females and juveniles, but grows a dark brown or slate grey, often tinged with blue, in adult males. Females and young males have ten or more white stripes on their sides. Only males have horns, 60–83 cm long and yellow-tipped. It exhibits the highest sexual dimorphism among the spiral-horned antelopes.
The blue wildebeest is a large antelope and one of the two species of wildebeest. This broad-shouldered antelope has a muscular, front-heavy appearance, with a distinctive robust muzzle. Young blue wildebeest are born tawny brown, and begin to take on their adult colouration at the age of two months. The adults’ hues range from a deep slate or bluish gray to light gray or even grayish brown. Both sexes possess a pair of large curved horns