13 Feb 2015 Clowns of the Savannah: The Blue Wildebeest
The Blue Wildebeest is an often-overlooked animal on the vast African plains, and hardly features at all on the wish lists of safari goers. It has been assigned a membership to the “Ugly 5”, and is an almost comedic figure in the bush. Many have proclaimed that it is made up of a number of different animal parts – forequarters from an ox, hindquarters from an antelope, and mane and tail from a horse.
Sadly, their more remarkable features are often not known. So we have taken it upon ourselves today to share a few of the better qualities of this much maligned animal.
- Did you know that the blue wildebeest is among the top ten fastest animals in world and has the capacity to reach speeds of up to 80km/h?
- Wildebeest calves can walk within minutes of being born. This enables them keep up with the rest of the herd.
- In the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem the animals make a migratory circle each year of 500 to 1,000 miles! They will swim rivers and lakes in such huge masses that many are injured or even killed.
- Wildebeest are continually on the move as they seek favorable supplies of grass and water, and are active during both day and night.
- The wildebeest is one of the few African antelopes to have extended its range. They numbered about 250,000 in 1960 as compared to approximately 1.5 million today.
- The blue wildebeest is one of 2 species of wildebeest found on the African continent. The other is the black wildebeest. This species is not found on Kapama Game Reserve.
- The blue wildebeest is also known as the Brindled Gnu.
- Blue wildebeest communicate with each other through grunting sounds.
- Both males and females have horns, however the males’ horns are larger and joined at the base by a boss-like structure.
- The coat of a young blue wildebeest is brownish in colour. They only attain their colour at 3 months old.
Clowns they may be, but they are resilient, determined and distinctive. And for that they deserve recognition.