Thought You Knew What An Antelope Was? Prepare To Be Surprised...

Thought You Knew What An Antelope Was? Prepare To Be Surprised...

First of all, a small clarification: although all gazelles are antelopes, not all antelopes are gazelles! In the group of antelopes, you can also find impalas, oryx, elk, dik-diks... and even wildebeest!

Oryx

Gorgeous looking with a brown and white coat, black face and long straight horns which point backwards, the white oryx is native to the Arabian Peninsula while other species are of African origin.

It measures an average of 4 feet at the shoulder with a weight between 100 and 200 kg. Its fine parallel horns can even measure over 4 feet! Fearful, oryx usually live in herds, composed of females and their young. Young males live separately.

Dik-dik!

Dik-diks (of the Madoqua genus) are dwarf antelopes, which measure 12 to 17 inches to the shoulder. The name ‘dik-dik’ comes from the noise they make when they are in danger.

Dik-diks weigh from 3 to 5 kg. They have an elongated snout, and a light fur that is grey on their backs, and white on the belly. On the top of the skull, the coat forms a straight tuft, sometimes partially hiding the male's short horns.

Thomson's gazelle

Known for being one of the lion's favourite meals, it takes its name from that of the Scottish explorer Joseph Thomson. It is also called a Thommie, and is found only in East Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, southern Sudan, and southern Ethiopia.

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It is a small gazelle because it measures on average 27.5 inches at the withers. The length of the body is about 3 feet and males weigh on average 27 kg and females 10 less. The male has straight and ringed horns which are 12 inches long, the female has small fine and straight horns which are 4 inches.

The wildebeest

An emblematic animal of African savannahs, the wildebeest is 3 feet and 5 feet tall at the withers, and weighs between 130 and 270kg. It is one of the few African savannah animals that are not yet threatened by humans, even though it is increasingly a victim of trophy hunting because it is very cheap.

In the meantime, the huge herd of a million heads continues to roam the savannahs of Tanzania during its incredible annual migration.

• Rob Mitchell
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