Friday, February 1, 2013

Greater Kudu

Tragelaphus strepsiceros
The Greater Kudu is one of the largest Antelope species out there, which the largest males standing over 5ft tall at the shoulder and weighing over 600lbs. They sport horns that equally as impressive in size-- the record is 72in.

You'll find the Greater Kudus in southern and eastern Africa, where they inhabit scrub woodlands. Their brown coloration and white stripes allow them to remain camouflaged within these woody surroundings. The Kudus are most active at dawn and dusk, and spend the daytime hours hidden in these forested areas. However, their stripes are not their only defensive mechanism; they also sport very large ears that allow them to hear approaching danger. When alerted, the Antelope can try and bound away to safety.

Female Greater Kudus tend to live in moderately sized groups with other females and offspring. Most mature males are solitary, and will only join up with these herds during the breeding period that corresponds with the end of the rainy season. Males will fight, locking their large horns together, in order to claim breeding rights over the females. Generally only one calf is born at a time, and their birth happens during the season where the grass is highest. This allows the newborns to stay hidden and safe from predators.

Greater Kudus have an interesting relationship with humans. On the one hand, their large size and incredible horns make them prime trophy targets for hunters. But on the other hand, agricultural development and irrigation has allowed them to spread into areas that were once too dry for them to survive in. Overall they are listed as being of Least Concern.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Africa
Size : Height up to 5ft (1.5m), Weight up to 600lbs (272kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Bovidae -- Genus : Tragelaphus -- Species : T. strepsiceros

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