Giraffe gazelle, Waller’s gazelle, Giraffe gazelle
The gerenuk (; Somali: garanuug; Litocranius walleri ), also known as the giraffe gazelle, is a long-necked antelope found in the Horn of Africa and the drier parts of East Africa. The sole member of the genus Litocranius, the gerenuk was first described by the naturalist Victor Brooke in 1879. It is characterised by its long, slender neck and limbs. The antelope is 80–105 centimetres (2 feet 7 inches – 3 feet 5 inches) tall, and weighs between 18 and 52 kilograms (40 and 115 pounds). Two types of colouration are clearly visible on the smooth coat: the reddish brown back or the "saddle", and the lighter flanks, fawn to buff. The horns, present only on males, are lyre-shaped. Curving backward then slightly forward, these measure 25–44 cm (10–17+1⁄2 in).
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
In zoology, a folivore is a herbivore that specializes in eating leaves. Mature leaves contain a high proportion of hard-to-digest cellulose, less ...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
A cursorial organism is one that is adapted specifically to run. An animal can be considered cursorial if it has the ability to run fast (e.g. chee...
Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
Browsing is a type of herbivory in which an herbivore (or, more narrowly defined, a folivore) feeds on leaves, soft shoots, or fruits of high-growi...
Nomadic animals regularly move to and from the same areas within a well-defined range. Most animals travel in groups in search of better territorie...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
A herd is a social grouping of certain animals of the same species, either wild or domestic. The form of collective animal behavior associated with...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The gerenuk is a notably tall, slender antelope that resembles gazelles. It is characterized by its long, slender neck and limbs, the flat, wedge-like head, and the large, round eyes. It can often be seen standing on its hind legs while stretching its neck to reach to high branches of trees, abundant with soft leaves. Victor Brooke, an Anglo-Irish naturalist, was first to describe this species in 1878. Females of this species are identified by a dark-colored area on their crown. Males, on the other hand, display short and robust horns, covered with a lot of rings. The magnificent horns of these animals curve backward, having the characteristic "S" shape.
The natural range of gerenuk covers the Horn of Africa, stretching from southern Djibouti, Somalia, and Ethiopia to as far south as Kenya and the north-eastern portions of Tanzania. Within this territory, these antelope inhabit thickets, thornbush and tend to avoid dense woodlands and very open, grassy areas.
Gerenuk are highly social creatures, forming small, single-sex herds of 2-6 individuals, although all-female herds may sometimes contain juveniles. Meanwhile, males occasionally prefer living solitarily. Gerenuk are generally peaceful and rarely fight. They are sedentary and don't tend to travel, apparently in order to conserve enough energy for foraging. They become even less mobile as they age. Each herd has its own territory, typically 3-6 square km (1.2-2.3 square miles) in size. Home ranges of various herds often overlap. Males defend their territories by scent marking with special secretions, produced by their preorbital glands. Gerenuk lead a diurnal lifestyle, which means that they are active by day. However, they spend the midday hours standing or resting in shelters. The greater part of their active time is spent looking for food and eating. Meanwhile, female gerenuks appear to spend more time in these activities than males. In order to cool off, they often expose themselves to rain.
Gerenuk are browsers. Their usual diet is herbivorous (folivorous) and is composed of various trees, shoots, herbs, flowers, fruits, and foliage of bushes.
Gerenuk have a polygynous mating system, where each male mates with a number of females. They may breed at any time of year, although each female breeds once every 1-2 years. Intervals between breeding are related to the gender of the previous year's young. The gestation period lasts for 165 days, yielding 1-2 calves, which are born fully developed. During the first few minutes after birth, they are able to walk. The young are cared for and fed by their mother until weaning, which occurs at 1 year old in females and at least 1.5 years old in males. The latter don't leave their mother until 2 years old. The age of reproductive maturity is 1-2 years old in females and 1.5 years old in males. Males in the wild typically start mating only at 3.5 years old, when they are dominant enough to occupy a maintain of their own.
Gerenuk are primarily threatened by loss and fragmentation of their natural habitat, associated with growth of local human populations, leading to the development of settlements, roads and agriculture. As a result, some isolated populations cannot find suitable food and shelter. Some are unable to find mates as well as escape predators. Further, this species has served as a game animal in Africa for a long period of more than 200 years. In spite of having limited supply and very small natural range, gerenuks heavily suffer from hunting as trophies and for consumption.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population of gerenuks is around 95,000 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) and its numbers are decreasing.
Despite the small overall population, gerenuk play an important role in the local ecosystems. Thus, due to foraging, gerenuks enhance nutrient cycling. Then, they are key prey species for numerous predators of their range (leopards, lions, hyenas, and others).
Social animals are those animals that interact highly with other animals, usually of their own species (conspecifics), to the point of having a rec...