The Antelopes

The antelope has a wide range of species, more of them being native to Africa more than any other continent. East Africa has got 20-35 species of antelopes co-occurring over its savannahs. There are 29 species of them in the different National Parks and game reserves of Uganda. Among these, we have the eland, greater Kudu, Jackson's hartebeest, waterbuck, the semi-aquatic sitatunga, Grant's gazelle, the Uganda Kob, Oribi, Topi and more. They can be distinguished by their size, colour, horns, and other features.

Antelopes in Lake Mburo National Park

We have the Jackson's hartebeest endemic to Uganda, we also have the rarely seen semi-aquatic sitatunga that has splayed hooves adapted for the life in the papyrus thus having most of them in Kalangala, an island in Uganda. Antelopes live in forests, woodlands and bushes therefore most of them tend to be sedentary and some feed mostly on grass and thus follow the rains for their food supply. Antelopes are ruminants. Most of the antelopes are very fast animals with the long strides they make with their long, slender yet powerful legs.

The antelopes rely on keen senses to avoid their predators. They have the ability to perceive danger at night out in the open because of their sharp senses of smell and hearing usually when their predators are on the prowl. They also use their senses in communication. While others rely on numbers, if they are many, the adults encircle their offspring so as the predators cannot pick on them. The rest trust their legs as they are agile and have good endurance. The lifespan of antelopes is not certain for those in the wild, this is because the older they grow the less speed they have to escape the predators while those in captivity can live up to 20years.

In appearance, the antelopes have a pelage with a dense coat of short fur, various shades of brown and white or pale underbodies. Some have patches like the topi that has purple patches, the eland that has small patches around the knee. Antelopes can be found in all national parks and game reserves of Uganda.

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