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Tanzania Mammals Glossary

Scientific name : Loxodonta africana

IUCN Status : VU (Vulnerable)

The largest living land mammal. Both sexes have tusks but they are typically larger in males (record from late XIXthcentury: 103kg for one single tusk). They are highly adaptable animals that live in nearly any habitat that has adequate quantities of food and water. They feed preferentially on grasses and other types of vegetation. Smell is the most highly developed sense and they make low-frequency calls, many of which are too low for humans to hear. These sounds allow elephants to communicate with one another at distances of up to six miles. They have multiple, hierarchical social groupings from mother-infant to clans with varying levels of social interaction. Females live in family groups of up to 50 individuals led by the oldest female, the matriarch. Males leave the group at the age of 8-12 to join bachelor groups. Ivory poaching represents a significant threat to the elephant population, along with agriculture. Did you know? African Elephants only have four teeth with which to chew their food.

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Scientific name : African buffalo

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A very large, muscular animal resembling a stocky cow. Coat colour can vary from reddish-brown to black. Found in a wide range of habitats including forest, savannah, swamp, wetland and montane grassland. They are strictly grazers and form discrete population units that share a home range. In the savannah, herd sizes can vary from 20 to 2 500 animals. Males can be solitary or form small bachelor groups. They are most active in mornings & evenings, preferring to rest in the shade during the heat of the day.

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Scientific name : Diceros bicornis

IUCN Status : CR (Critically Endangered)

The Black Rhino has various habitats such as bushland, wooded grassland and woodland habitats. It is predominantly a browser, feeds on shrubs, fruit, shoots and leaves. It favours areas with permanent water and although generally solitary, ten or more individuals may congregate briefly around waterholes. Like many diurnal animals, they may become nocturnal in areas of heavy poaching. It is believed that there are less than a hundred black Rhinos living in Tanzania.

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Scientific name : Hippopotamus amphibius

IUCN Status : VU (Vulnerable)

The Hippo is found in rivers, lakes and permanently flooded wetlands, where individuals can remain submerged for up to six minutes. They feed mostly at night, spending the day resting in water or basking on land. Amazingly agile for their bulk, hippos are good climbers and often cross rather steep banks each night to graze on grass. They live in herds of up to 50 individuals, dominated by a single male that defends a water zone of 50-500m. Non-territorial males form bachelor herds.

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Scientific name : Masai Giraffe

IUCN Status : VU (Vulnerable)

The Giraffe is the tallest land mammal, with large males reaching almost 6m in height. Giraffes can be seen in open Acacia woodland, bushland and grassland. They are non-territorial, forming temporary groups of 2-30 individuals. Only females and their youngsters form stable units while males frequently move alone. Home range varies from 22-280 km² depending on variety/abundance of food. Males have a complex dominance system establishing superiority with neck fighting. Many of these fights are highly ritualized and non-lethal. They are browsers and feed mainly on Acacia trees.

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Scientific name : Damaliscus korrigum

IUCN Status : NT (Near Threatened)

Topi live in open and seasonnaly flooded grassland. They are diurnal and strictly grazers. In the Serengeti NP males defend small territories of approximately 1-4km and have semi stable harems of 6-24 females and young. The dominant female also play a role in keeping other males and females out of the territory. In some areas during dry season herds of 1000 individuals can occur.

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Scientific name : Orycteropus afer

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A thickset animal with a rounded body and long tapered tail, and a small pig-like head with a very long nose and ears. The body colour ranges from light brown to pinkish-grey and the legs are black. Young animas are usually quite hairy while adults are mostly hairless on the back. Four large claws on the front foot and five on the hind foot. Males and females are the same size.

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Scientific name : Dendrohyrax arboreus

IUCN Status : NT (Near Threatened)

Large, arboreal hyraxes with long, soft fur and long sensory guard hairs scattered throughout the pelage. There is a patch of erectile hair covering a dorsal gland. Color grizzked gray to brown coat with creamy white dorsal gland hair, cream or white belly with white patches on lower and upper lip to the cheeks.

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Scientific name : Atherurus africanus

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

C'est un rongeur de taille moyenne dont le corps est couvert de soies brun-jaune, avec sur le dos des poils piquants couchés, bruns à base blanche, devenant progressivement plus grands vers l'arrière.

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Scientific name : Hystrix africaeaustralis

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

Both Crested and Cape Porcupines are large rodents with long, very sharp, black and white quills on the lower back. Legs and underparts are covered with short black hair, and the short tai lis covered with short quills. Cape porcupine have white quills on the crump, Crest porcupine have black quills on the crump. They are found in a wide variety of habitats including savanna grassland, bushland, and both lowland and montane forests. They feed on fruits, roots and bark. When threatened, they raise their quills and back rapidly towards the predator, stabbing it with their quills that detach easily from the loose skin. Their are monogamous and live in small families.

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Scientific name : Hystrix cristata

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

Both Crested and Cape Porcupines are large rodents with long, very sharp, black and white quills on the lower back. Legs and underparts are covered with short black hair, and the short tai lis covered with short quills. Cape porcupine have white quills on the crump, Crest porcupine have black quills on the crump. They are found in a wide variety of habitats including savanna grassland, bushland, and both lowland and montane forests. They feed on fruits, roots and bark. When threatened, they raise their quills and back rapidly towards the predator, stabbing it with their quills that detach easily from the loose skin. Their are monogamous and live in small families.

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Scientific name : Cryptomys hottentotus

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A medium-sized rodent. The fur is thick and evenly colored, usually grey or brown. In some specimens there is white spot on the head. Common mole-rats form colonies, essentially family groups with the largest female and male being the only reproductive pair. They can live in a wide range of substrates. They are herbivorous, mainly eating geophytes (plants with underground storage organs) and grass rhizomes. Common mole-rats are very widespread, thus their abundance is not well known. This species shows signs of localization due to soil requirements.

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Scientific name : Thryonomys swinderianus

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

The greater cane has rounded ears, a short nose, and coarse bristly hair. Its forefeet are smaller than its hind feet, each with three toes. Cane rats live in small groups led by a single male. They are nocturnal and make nests from grasses or burrow underground. Individuals of the species may live in excess of four years. If frightened, they grunt and run towards water. So far, their conservation status is lower risk.

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Scientific name : Anomalurus derbianus

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

L'écureuil volant de Derby est un rongeur anomaluride. Il vit dans des forêts tropicales et subtropicales.

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Scientific name : Alcelaphus buselaphus

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A large antelope with and elongated face and a sloping back. Body is light brown above and paler below. Both sexes have horns (38-57cm). The tail is white wit black hair at the tip. It is found in grassland and wooded grassland. They are diurnal and strictly grazzers. Females and youngs live n small family groups of 5-20 individuals. Males have small territories, often advertising their presence by standing on termites mounds. Males without territories live in bachelors groups of up to 25 individuals.

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Scientific name : Alcelaphus lichtensteinii

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A large antelope with a sloping back and an elongated face. The body is yellow-brown. This species often rubs its face on upper shoulder and sides, leaving a dark stain due to sticky black liquid form its orbital glands. Horns (38-64cm) are present in both sexes. It favours grassland on the edge of woodland, is mostly diurnal and fees mostly on grass. Males are territorial and associate with groups of 3-5 females and young. Larger aggregation of 50-60 individuals may gather in the dry season.

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Scientific name : Procavia capensis

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A stocky hyrax with short legs, ears and face, giving it a snub-nosed appearance. The dorsal fur is brown and the underparts are cream-coloured in adults, slightly paler in juveniles. There is a patch of erectile hair covering a dorsal gland, which can be yellow, orange or brown. The fur is dense and there are long, scattered guard hairs across the body.

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Scientific name : Pronolagus rupestris

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A medium-sized hare with dense, soft fur. The back is a grizzled brown or grey colour and the underside is creamy. The tailis bushy with a black tip. The ears are short and not longer than the head. This hare occupies rocky hillsides and ravines with boulders and rock crevices that offer suitable cover. It is mostly nocturnal and generally solitary. It feeds mostly on grasses.

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Scientific name : Lepus capensis

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A medium sized hare with long ears and well developped hind legs. It is paler than the African Savanna Hare with a brown and grey coat. It is usually found in open grassland. It feeds on grasses, is solitary and mostly nocturnal, but can be active during later afternoon. It frequenty runs into the open when disturbed, while the African Savanna Hare usually runs for cover.

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Scientific name : Lepus microtis

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

Un lièvre de taille moyenne aux oreilles longues et aux pattes postérieures bien développées.

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Scientific name : Gazella granti

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

Grant’s Gazelle are found in open savanna grassland, open bushland and woodland. They feed on browse and grasses, and are largerly water dependant. They move in herds of 10 female and fawns controlled by a dominant male or in larger herds of 40+ individuals. Temporary of 400+ aggregations can occur. Males are sometimes territorial, during wet season they can be of 2.5-10km². Serengeti’s Grants Gazelles are migratory, occupying short grass pleins in dry season and woodlands in wet season.

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Scientific name : Gazella thomsonii

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A small gazelle with a sandy coloured back and a prominent black horizontal band along the side with paler brown above and a white belly. Males have strong horns (30-45cm), much smaller (8-15cm) in females. They are mostly found in open grassland with short grasses and occasionally farmland. They usually avoid tall grasses and bushland except during the migration. In the Serengeti NP they follow similar movements to migratory wildebeest and zebra populations but they do not migrate as far north. Females move together in unstables aggregations of up to 200 individuals. Males form small territories or live in bachelors herds. During migrations social groups break down in several thousands individuals that move together in a loose association.

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Scientific name : Litocranius wall

IUCN Status : NT (Near Threatened)

La gazelle de Waller est une espèce d’antilope de taille moyenne, se distinguant par son long cou lui valant parfois l’appellation d’antilope-girafe. Sa présence se limite aux zones arides au nord du pays, depuis les rives orientales du lac Natron jusqu'aux versants inférieurs de l'ouest du mont Kilimandjaro. On en trouve également dans le sud de Tarangire. Elle est diurne et se nourrit de feuilles et de pousses. Les mâles adultes sont territoriaux (0,8-3 km²) et habituellement solitaires. Elle se regroupe jusqu’à dix individus.

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Scientific name : Madoqua kirki

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A small, slender antelope with long, dainty legs, and large ears and eyes. The nose is pointed and very flexible. The coat is grizzled grey on the neck, back and haunches, and reddish on the sides, face and legs. The male has short, heavily ridges horns (6-10cm). It is found in savanna grassland, bushland and open woddland. It feeds mostly on shrubs, trees and seeds. It lives in pairs, and often bond with same partner for life. Pairs are typically accompanied by 1-2 juvenile offsprings till 7-12months. Dik-dik is active at day and night.

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Scientific name : Oreotragus oreotragus

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A small, stocky antelope with a rounded back and a dense coarse coat that has a grizzled appearance. The underparts are white. The horns are vertical (8-15cm). The Klipspringer walks on the tips of its hoops and has a very uprigth stance, it inhabits rocky terrain, inclding small hills, rock kopjes, mountain slopes and escarpment. They live in monogamous pairs or groups of 4-5 individuals. Males will often stand motionless on a high rock keeping watch for predators or rivals. When alarmed, they can leap from boulder to boulder with great agility. They are mostly diurnal and feed on leaves, herbs, flowers and fruits.

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Scientific name : Ourebia ourebi

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

The Oribi is a small, gracefull long legged antilope with a long neck, living in flat of hilly open grasslands and floodplains, and dry swamps areas. They are grazers and browsers. They live in pairs or small groups 3-6 individuals. Dominant males will occasionnally tolerate other males in their territory. They can run very fast and reproduce loud whistles when alarmed.

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Scientific name : Raphicerus campestris

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A small, slender antelope with a rufous-brown coat and white underparts. The ears are very large. Only the males have horns (7-11cm) which are nearly vertical and ridged only at the base. The tailis very short. Steebok is active both during day and night, and is either solitary or found in pairs. Its preferred habitat is grassland and open woodland. It feeds on grass and browse and can be water-independant. Pairs share a territory of 5-60ha, they move and rest separatly, at a distance of 200 to 300m.

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Scientific name : Raphicerus sharpei

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A small, stocky antelope with a brown coat with distinctive white hairs. The throat, neck and underparts are white. Only the males have short (3-5cm) horns. Their presence is closely associated with woodland, prefering areas with thick ground cover. They are mostly nocturnal. Males and females form monogamous pairs that defend a territory. They are generally seen alone, in pairs during mating season. They feed mostly on browse, but also fruits, seeds and grass.

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Scientific name : Tragelaphus strepsiceros

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A very larged, long-legged antelope. Females and youngs have a tawny brown body becoming grey brown in older males. There is a distinct hump on the shoulders and a mane that runs from the back of the neck to the base of shoulders. There are 4-12 white stripes on the neck. Males have huge spirales horns than can reach 160cm. Their preferred habitat is bushland and savanna woodland. They feed mainly on browse and can be largely water-independant. They are both diurnal and nocturnal. They are social and live in groups of 3-25 individuals, while male are either solitary or form bachelor herds.

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Scientific name : Tragelaphus imberbis

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

Alarge antelope. Males are grey becoming darker with age and females are grey brown. Both sexes have 11-13 white stripes running from the back to the belly with 2 white patches under the neck and forehead. Only the males have long horns (61-92cm). They are found principall in dense, thickset and bushland. Active day and night, they feed on leaves, fruits and seedpods. They live singly or on small single sex groups of 3-6 animals. Males are generaly solitary and join groups only for breeding.

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Scientific name : Taurotragus oryx

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

This is the second largest antelope in Africa. Body colour ranges from brown to dark grey. Both sexes have a dewlap. The white stripes that run down from the back to the flanks can vary in number (2-15). Male horns are shorter than females. They have a long and bushy tail. It is found in a wide variety of habitats but avoid thick forests. They live in single sex or mixt groups of up to 12 individuals through aggregation of 300-500 can occur, groups are dynamic and frequently change in size and composition as they are highly migratory. They are active both day and night an feed on grasses.

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Scientific name : Tragelaphus scriptus

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A small antelope with a wide variety of coat colour and patterning. Male ranges from red-brown to almost black, females are usually red. Both sexes have a white patch on the base of the neck. They have a bushy tail of same colour than body. Only males have horns which are nearly straight. They occur in any area with dense cover. They are mainly browsers that feed on leaves but will also eat grass and fruits. They are solitary and non territorial. They are active at all hours of the day with peak activity early in the morning and right after sunset.

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Scientific name : Tragelaphus spekii

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A medium-sized antelope. Males are dark brown while females can vary from light brown to deep red in colour. Both sexes have 2 white patches on their neck. The hair is long and oily, only males have horns. It is a swamp specialist found mostly in permanent marches and wetlands. Mostly diurnal and active in mornings and late afternoons. It is an excellent swimmer and can submerge when threatened with only eyes and nostrils visible above water. It lives alone or in small groups of 2-4 females and 1 male.

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Scientific name : Philantomba monticola

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A very small antelope ranging in colour from light brown to dark blue grey. Short tail with a white underside. Female may have horns. It is found in a range of habitats that offer plenty of cover like dense bushland, forests and agricultural lands. They live in monogamous pairs and their diet consists in fruits, flowers and leaves. Theu are diurnal and crepuscular, with peak activity in early morning and late afternoon.

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Scientific name : Cephalophus natalensis

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A medium-sized duiker. Both sexes have short, conical horns (4-10cm). It is found in a variety of habitats including coastal bushland, thicket, and montane forests. Secretive animal, it will often run & dive into thick cover when disturbed. They are diurnal and mostly solitary or in pairs. They feed on leaves and fruits and a water-dependant.

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Scientific name : Cephalophus spadix

IUCN Status : EN (Endangered)

A large duiker with a dark brown or black body. The face and neck are lighter in colour than the rest of the body. It has a white upperlip and a distinctive red crest on the top of its head. Both sexes have small horns (8-12cm). This is strictly a forest species, on Mt Kilimanjaro, it favours valleus with dense vegetation cover, in Udzungwa, more swampy areas. It is mainly nocturnal, believed to be solitary and is primarily a fruit-eater.

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Scientific name : Sylvicapra grimmia

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A medium-sized duiker with a leaner build and a longer body than other duikers. Coat colour may vary follwoing the region, from yellow brown to grey brown. It utilizes a wide range of habitats including savana, bushland and can be seen in alpine moorland desert. Their diet includes leaves, fruits and shoots, with invertebrates and little birds. They are solitary but can be seen in pairs. The species is both diurnal and nocturnal.

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Scientific name : Hippotragus equinus

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

The second largest antelope in Tanzania after the Common Eland. Males are slighty larger than females. Upper body of light sandy brown and the underparts are white or yellowish. Both sexes have a black-tipped mane that runs from the head to the shoulders. The face has a distinctive black and white pattern, and both sexes have long, heavy horns (56-81cm) that curve backwards. It prefers habita of open woodland-savanna with medium-tall grassses and close te permanent water sources. The species is predominantly a grazer and is water-dependant. Females and young live in groups of 5-20 animals, while male are generaly solitary.

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Scientific name : Hippotragus niger

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A very large antelope with a thick neck and huge, curved horns, usually larger in males (95-122cm). It is sexually dimorphic, males being typicall black while youngs and females are russet brown. Both sexes have an uprigth mane, and distinctive white facial markings. Typically found in woodland, Sable Antelopes often move into valley bottoms to find water during dry season. They are grazers and territorial, often observed in herds of 15-25 females and their youngs, sometimes 75 individuals during dry season. These groups have stable hierarchy led by the top-ranking female. Male defend the territory and will often walk at the rear of the groups.

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Scientific name : Aepyceros melampus

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A graceful, slender antelope with a smooth, shiny coat. The upperparts are a rich reddish-brown, while underparts are light brown to white. Distinctive black stripes on the back of each thigh. Ear tips are black. Only males have S-curved horns (56-83cm). Impala favours open woodland and bushland. They are mainly diurnal and feed on grasses and browse. Female impala lives in kin-related clans of 30-120 animals with fixed home range. Territorial males will mate with any receptive female passing through teir territory, and will attemps to prevent females from leaving, by snorting and roaring.

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Scientific name : Kobus ellipsiprymnus

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A large antelope with a shaggy coat, varying from dark grey to grey brown. Females are usually paler than males. There is a white collar around the throat and sides of the neck, extending to eyes and ears. Only males have horns (64-89cm). Its coat is covered with an oil secretion and exudes a strong musky scent. It can be found in floodplains and open woodlands, but always near to water. It is mainly a grazzer. It is a social animal, forming herds of 5-25 individuals. Males travel in bachelor groups till 5-6 years old then establish in firm territories. Females form non-territorial nursery herds.

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Scientific name : Kobus Vardonii

IUCN Status : NT (Near Threatened)

Mid-sized antilope with a shaggy coat that is tan to golden yellow. Pukus are strictly grazers and inhabit grassland around marshers and rivers. Adult males form territories of around 4km², while non territorials males live in groups up to 40 individuals, while female live in loose associations of 6-23 animals. Pukus are diurnal and crepuscular, with peak of activity at dawn and dusk.

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Scientific name : Oryx beisa

IUCN Status : NT (Near Threatened)

A large, thick-necked antelope with straight, pointed horns, similar to both sexes (71-86cm). Coat is of light tan brown, separated from the white belly by a black side stripe. The face has black and white markings and there are black stripes on the forelegs. It inhabits arid grassland, bushland and open woodland. It feeds mostly on grasses and can go for long periods without water. Mixed sex herds of 15-50 individuals, occasionally up to 250 animals can be seen, moving all together.

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Scientific name : Redunca redunca

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A medium-sized antelope. Dorsal colour ranges from light to dark brown. The chin and throat are paler and the underparts are white. Black stripes running down the front of forelegs. The tail is very bushy. Only males have horns (30cm). They are found in valleys and glades with tall grass, always close to permanent water. They are diurnal and for monogamous pairs, can also be found singly or in small family parties. They are mostly fresh grass eaters.

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Scientific name : Redunca fulvorufula

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A medium-sized antelope with a soft, wooly coat. Fur is grey above with bright white underparts. Bushy tail and a black patch below each ears. Found on mountain ridges, grassy hills and rocky slopes where there is permanent water. It feeds on green grasses and avoid dry areas. They live in small families of 3-10 individuals. Males are solitary. They are diurnal with active peaks during cooler periods.

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Scientific name : Equus quagga bohemi

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

Most frequently found in open savannah and areas with permanent water, plain Zebras are social animals that live in small, stable harems of one male and 1-8 females and offspring. Large herds consist of many family groups moving together in herds of several hundred to several thousand individuals. The group adjusts its traveling pace to accommodate the old and the weak. Zebras commonly associate with other species like Hartebeest, Elands & Wildebeest. They are almost exclusively grazers.

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Scientific name : Giraffa tippelskirchi

IUCN Status : VU (Vulnerable)

The Giraffe is the tallest land mammal, with large males reaching almost 6m in height. Giraffes can be seen in open Acacia woodland, bushland and grassland. They are non-territorial, forming temporary groups of 2-30 individuals. Only females and their youngsters form stable units while males frequently move alone. Home range varies from 22-280 km² depending on variety/abundance of food. Males have a complex dominance system establishing superiority with neck fighting. Many of these fights are highly ritualized and non-lethal. They are browsers and feed mainly on Acacia.

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Scientific name : Connochaetes taurinus

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

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Scientific name : Connochaetes

IUCN Status : LC (Least Concern)

A large antelope with a thick neck and shoulders and a slightly sloping back. Wildebeests inhabit short grassland and open bushland. They are mainly diurnal and strictly grazers. Wildebeests are social animals with highly dynamic social systems that range from permanently sedentary to highly migratory populations. Males monopolize harems of 6-30 females and calves in small territories of less than 2Ha. The Great Migration sees over 1.5 million wildebeest, 200 000 zebra and a host of other antelope travelling cross-country. It is the largest overland migration in the world. The animals travel a total of 800km or more during each cycle. During the migration, around 250,000 wildebeest and 30,000 zebra are killed every year because of predators, but also from thirst, hunger, and exhaustion.

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