Sable Antelope

Sable Antelope

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Subfamily
Genus
SPECIES
Hippotragus niger
Population size
75,000
Life Span
17-19 yrs
TOP SPEED
70 km/h
WEIGHT
220-235 kg
HEIGHT
117-140 cm
LENGTH
190-255 cm

The Sable is a barrel-chested rotund antelope with a long face, short neck, and dark mane. They have impressive ringed horns rising vertically to curve backward. When arching their necks and standing with their heads high and tails outstretched, these antelope look like horses. In this position, they appear larger than they actually are. The males keep this position even when galloping, the arched neck being important to manifest dominance. Sables change color as they grow older. Calves are born with a reddish-brown color and virtually no markings. White markings appear as they grow older and their coat becomes darker, and the older the animal is, the more striking is the contrast.

Di

Diurnal

He

Herbivore

Fo

Folivore

Gr

Graminivore

Te

Terrestrial

No

Nomadic

Te

Territorial

Vi

Viviparous

Br

Browsing

Po

Polygyny

He

Herding

Do

Dominance hierarchy

So

Social

No

Not a migrant

S

starts with

Distribution

Geography

Sable antelope live in the southern savannas of Africa from the southeastern part of Kenya, in eastern Tanzania, as well as Mozambique to Angola and in southern Zaire, mostly in the Miombo Woodland Zone. They prefer a mixture of grassland and savanna woodlands and avoid vast open lands where possible.

Sable Antelope habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Sable antelope are diurnal but are less active during the heat of the day. Most antelope will travel about a mile each day, even less when it is the dry season. They live in herds numbering 10 to 30 individuals, typically females with their young with one male leader. Just a few only of the most dominant mature males can obtain and hold territories, which they try to set up in the best feeding areas, because the better the feeding prospects, the more females will be attracted to the area. These animals are timid like most other antelope but will become aggressive, particularly the males, which can become dangerous if attacked or approached. When Sable antelope are threatened by predators, including lions, they confront them, using their scimitar-shaped horns. Many of these big cats have died during such fights.

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Sable antelope are herbivorous (folivorous, graminivorous) animals. They are specialized browsing animals and feed upon foliage, leaves, medium-length grass, and herbs, especially those growing on termite mounds. The leaves of trees provide 90% of their diet. They also visit salt licks and have been known to chew bones to collect minerals.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
May-July
PREGNANCY DURATION
9 months
BABY CARRYING
1 calf
INDEPENDENT AGE
6 months
FEMALE NAME
doe
MALE NAME
buck
BABY NAME
calf

Sable antelope are polygynous. Dominant males defend group of females and their foraging territory, which can extend 300 to 500 meters from the herd. The dominant males vigorously defend the females in their harem against intruding males. The breeding season extends from May to July. The gestation period is around 9 months and a single calf is born, which is then left hidden in the bush or tall grass. The mother returns once or twice each day to suckle her young. In a couple of weeks, the calf will be strong enough to join the herd. Weaning occurs 6 months after birth. Breeding for females starts at 2.5 years old, for males at 5 years old.

Population

Population threats

Humans are the Sable antelope’s only real threat. The Giant sable antelope subspecies is listed as endangered because of trophy hunting and habitat loss. Studies show that malnutrition, disease, and habitat quality also have limited Sable antelope numbers.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total Sable antelope population size is around 75,000 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) and its numbers today remain stable.

Ecological niche

These antelope assist in cycling plant/grass nutrients into further areas. The young serve as prey for large predators.

References

1. Sable Antelope Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sable_antelope
2. Sable Antelope on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/10170/0

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