Gnu Antelope: description and areola habitat
In Africa, there are not many species of animals that have been preserved in large quantities. And the wildebeest is just included in this short list. These ungulates can be found not only in nature reserves and parks. In the vast African savannah they inhabit quite a lot. In the National Park of Tanzania, Ngorongoro constantly graze over 14 thousand antelope.
Description of the wildebeest
The species belongs to the family of bovids. These are quite large animals, they weigh up to 250 kilograms with a height of 140 centimeters. Develop a speed of 55 km / h. Being frightened, they rush to the whole herd, without discerning who stands in the way. Therefore, in this state are deadly - they can easily be trampled. Their herds are numerous - up to 500 individuals.
The antelope is a rather indifferent animal, unlike the fallow deer, it cannot be called graceful. Outwardly, the wildebeest are like bulls. Very massive and large. On the head are short, bent cool horns. Like the mountain goats, below the muzzle and on the neck - long hair, creating a thick beard.And at the end of the tail - a tassel, like a donkey. Antelope's voice is very similar to a cow mooing, only more jerky and nasal. But the legs - high, thin. And the gallop of these animals is swift and easy, despite their massiveness.
Gnu antelope is divided into two types: blue and whitetail. The difference lies in the coloring. Antelopes of the first species are bluish-gray, with dark stripes on the sides. The horns are gray. Thick mane, tassel on the tail is black. White-tailed antelopes have different colors - from black to brown. The mane is two-tone, black and white. Light color at the base. A beard, like blue, - black. The tassel at the end of the tail is white.
Gnu antelopes inhabit the African grassy plains. The blue species is most common and is found throughout the continent. White-tailed antelopes are more rare. They can be met only in some national reserves.
The wildebeest is grazing on a territorial basis. Herds occupy areas whose borders are marked and protected from neighbors. Antelopes feed on grass, therefore they live near water bodies, avoiding arid areas.
The main enemies of antelope are hyenas, lions, crocodiles, vultures, leopards and cheetahs. Most animals die during migration. There is a natural selection. The weaker and sick lag behind the herd and become easy prey for predators. And when crossing the river, the crocodiles do not even attack immediately, but wait until the flocks reach the other side. After that, the attackers lagged behind the majority.
Many antelopes that are in the forefront are simply trampled by their fellows pushing from behind when crossing. And a lot of dead animals remains then on the shore. The remains are quickly eaten up by vultures and hyenas. But still antelope can not be called defenseless. A tightly knit herd can even repel the attack of lions. The latter also try to attack only weak animals. Sometimes predators try to discourage the young from the herd.
The wildebeest is a very restless creature. But it is not this quality that makes them migrate, but the showers followed by animals. Antelopes are herbivores and cannot live in an area where there is no rain, where there is little food, so they constantly move to new pastures.
In July, they move from the Serengeti Reserve to other places, and after a while - back. On the way, weak and sick animals are eliminated, which either lag behind the herd, or fall into the hands of predators. Migration of wildebeest occurs first from south to north, then in the opposite direction. Its peak passes through the river Mara. And the animals are always forwarded in the same place.
Watching the migration of antelopes (and the spectacle is really ambitious and impressive) is sent every year by many tourists. The movement of animals can be observed from above (from balloons) or from specially equipped vehicles intended for such tours.
The nature of the wildebeest is paradoxical. They are mostly similar to ordinary peaceful cows, but sometimes they are attacked by incomprehensible attacks, when animals suddenly kick, bounce in one place, or can panic in one second and leave the quarry with the whole herd. And all this happens for no apparent reason. The wildebeest are hot-tempered and often attack smaller herbivores nearby.