Antelopes in Uganda
Uganda is one of the world’s most popular tourist destination, Uganda the breathtaking tourist destination is situated in East Africa region bordering Kenya in the east, democratic republic of Congo in the west, Tanzania in the south, south Sudan in the north and Rwanda in the south west. Uganda generally experience modified equatorial climate which favors the live hood of animals and stay of tourists on a safari which makes it’s a beautiful destination.
When we talk about wildlife Uganda the pearl of Africa never disappoints, for a record Uganda is a known habitant for a big population of wildlife species which are found in various protected and conservation areas. Wildlife/ animals in Uganda include lions, leopard, mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, white and black colobus monkeys, zebras, buffalo, giraffe, hyenas, antelopes, crocodiles, hippopotamus and many more.
One of the beautiful animals in Uganda is the antelopes and this article highlights the types of antelopes you expect to find and see in Uganda while on a safari, antelopes are native species to African continent which thrive in the savannah vegetation covered parks and game reserves. Uganda as a fascinating tourist destination hosts a recorded number 29 species of antelopes, Antelopes are deer like mammals and members of even toed ungulate species of animals. Antelopes are medium sized mammals and because of their size they are eaten as food by big carnivore’s predators that is lions, hyenas and crocodiles, as small animals antelopes prefer to live in woodlands, bushes, semi-arid as a sense of protection. That is why they avoid being swampy areas, forests and pure deserts as they home for predators, antelopes have a sharp sense of smell and hearing most especially in the open which helps them to perceive danger (these sense are also used in communication). Still on protection adult antelopes encircle their young ones to safe guard them from antelopes, most antelopes generally use their legs to run from the predators as fast as they could for a long period of time. On a record antelopes are very fast animals known for making long strides with their long slender and powerful legs.
Antelopes vary and are differentiated according to appearance, antelopes are covered with a dense coat of short fur with various shades of brown, purple, white and pale underbodies around different body parts for example topi have purple patches and elands have small patches around the knee.
Uganda is known home for a largest population of African antelopes such as eland, greater kadu, and Jackson’s hartebeests, waterbuck, semi-aquatic Sitatunga, Grant’s gazelle, Uganda kob, Oribi, topi and many more. Among these antelopes are the Jackson’s hartebeest species which are endemic to Uganda and semi-aquatic Sitatunga a rare antelope species with splayed hooves which help them to get adopted to papyrus areas of Uganda. Antelopes in Uganda are found in kidepo valley national park, semiliki national park, Murchison falls national park and Lake Mburo national park which is hosts the hugest population of Antelopes in Uganda.
As already noted, antelopes in Uganda are of different species and they include
Among the types of antelopes, Uganda kobs are the commonest antelopes in Uganda and are found in most of national parks like Murchison falls national park, Lake Mburo national park and game reserves like semuliki game reserve and many more. These kobs are refer to as Uganda kobs because of its national significance, it is used as a national symbol on the coat of arms.
Uganda resembles the impalas but hat differentiates them is that as they grow old, they get darker most especially the female Uganda kobs. In appearance male ganda kobs are taller and weigh heavier than the females, like any other antelope they are covered by golden to reddish-brown fur coat and white patches around the neck and underneath the belly, inner parts of both ears and around the eyes. The fur on the legs is different most especially the front parts as they are black in color, Uganda kobs are fond of living in groups of 40 members and these groups either consists of only females, males or juveniles.
Jackson hartebeests are relatively big antelopes and light brown antelopes in color, these kind of antelopes have a flat face, curved horns, elongated forehead and curved horns. A male Jackson’s hartebeest usually heavier than the female Jackson’s hartebeest and these antelopes are found in kidepo national park and Murchison falls national park. Male Jackson’s hartebeests are fond of creating their own territories where they live in and when they get tired of these territories they move to form other territories.
Sitatungas are rare semi-aquatic antelopes, because of their nature they are fond of living in swampy areas, mashes and thick vegetation, Sitatungas have splayed hooves to help live in the swamp vegetation covered destinations like bigodi swamp, manamba swamp, Murchison falls national park and many more. Unlike other antelopes found in Uganda Sitatungas are feed on prefer fresh foliage, browse, fresh grass and aquatic plants regardless of their herbivores state, as per description and easy identification its only male Sitatunga which grow horns (these horns are spiral in nature with 1 or 2 twists). Sitatungas live in a very small group of 4 members, these groups usually consists of two members that is male and female. Sitatungas have shaggy hairy fur coat of various color shade and the coat is water resistant which help them live in water of swamps, Sitatungas are usually active in the morning and late evening which makes early morning and late evening the best time to spot them.
Elands are light yellowish tan colored and fawn colored antelopes with a distinctive black flap of skin between its throat and chest, elands present in Uganda are two in types that is giant and common eland. In the family of Antelopes they ae considered as the largest antelopes among all of them, giant eland is the largest and common eland is the second largest and both grow approximately to the size of 180 cm and as fat as a cow. Male Elands have a twisted thick and tightly spiraled horns.
Elands are more active in the morning and evening, unlike other antelopes they usually sleep during day for longer hours thus opting to feed in the night most especially during very hot days. The most fascinating feature about the elands is that they can survive for longer without drinking water and they only drink water when it is available.
Greater kadu are woodland type of antelopes, in the family of antelopes greater kadu are the second largest antelopes coming second to the Elands. In appearance kadu have a very narrow body supported by long legs an covered by either brown- grey or reddish-brown colored fur, kadu have long elegant spiral horns and 4-12 vertical white side stripes. In size male kadu are bigger than female ones with large horns, these horns have 2.5 twists and they only start growing after the bull (male kadu) turns 6- months of age.
Waterbucks are large antelopes fond of living near water banks and shores, waterbucks are about 37 species differentiated according to the color of their fur coats. Waterbucks are also categorized into two categories that is Ellipsen and defassa waterbucks, generally waterbucks have shaggy coat in reddish brown and grey shade of color and as they grow the color becomes darker. For easy differentiation a male waterbuck is darker in color than the female, waterbucks have long necks, white muzzle, very light eye brows and very strong black legs. Though waterbucks stay near water banks and shores they can stay for about 1-2 days without drinking water, these antelopes are fond of grazing on medium grasses and herbs primarily because they are source of protein.
Grant’s gazelle are also one of the commonest antelopes in Uganda, by description and appearance these antelopes have long sharp and spiral shape horns and are covered by a shiny brown coat all over their body except the lower areas around the belly and the inner thigh –legs which are covered by pure white fur.
Like other antelopes, Grant’s gazelle stay in group as a way of protecting themselves and their young ones from predators like lions and leopards, female antelopes nurse they little ones 4 times every day before they can move and when they are 6 months though weaning, they still stay close to them.
Nyala antelopes are hairy kind of antelopes fond of living in dense bush areas most especially riverine regions, Nyala resembles the kadu most especially the female Nyala which are is more confused with bush buck. Male and female Nyala are very different from each other, males have, horns and dark and shaggy fur, females do not have fur and horns.
Sable are also categorized as part of the largest antelopes in the antelope family, these antelopes have black face, covered with black coat and white patches around their lower, inner ears and belly region. Both male and female sable have long sharp horns with a ring like feature.
All these antelopes can easily be spotted upon visiting Uganda on a safari in numerous destinations like Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison falls national park, Lake Mburo national park, semuliki national park, kidepo national park and many more.