common sable
Hippotragus niger niger
Status: Least Concern
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Hippotraginae
Genus: Hippotragus
Names: black sable antelope, Matsetsi sable antelope or South Zambian sable antelope
Description: It has a beautiful, compact and robust build, a thick neck and tough skin. It has a well-developed and often upright mane on its neck and short mane on the throat. Its general colouration is rich chestnut brown to black coat. Calves less than two months old are a light tan and show faint markings. The underparts, cheek, and chin are all white, creating a great contrast with the dark back and flanks. Long, white hairs are present below the eyes, and a wide, black stripe runs over the nose. Both sexes have ringed horns which arch backwards

General Information

Often referred to as the black sable antelope because it tends to have the darkest coat of all 4 subspecies of sable. It has been said to be the most "handsome" antelope
Shoulder height: 117–140 cm
Length: 190 and 255 cm
Tail Length:
Weight: up to 235 kg
Age: 19 yrs in the wild and 22 yrs in captivity

Fun Facts !

Ecology and Behaviour

They are more active during the day and are generally herbivores though they have been known to chew bones to collect minerals and they eat mid-length grasses and leaves. They form herds of 10 to 30 females and calves led by a single male, called a bull. Males fight among themselves; they drop to their knees and use their horns. When sable antelopes are threatened by predators, including lions, they confront their attackers and fight-back aggressively. Using their scimitar-shaped horns that can reach to its vulnerable rump area , making it possible to impale their enemy.

Conservation

It is listed as "Least concern" on the IUCN Red list.

Distribution and Habitat

This subspecies occurs south of the Zambezi River, Kafue national park, northern Botswana and in large numbers in the Matsetsi Valley of Zimbabwe, but it is also found in South Africa. In Zambia it is common in the Luangwa national parks but scarce in the other Parks.

Interaction with humans

The grassland habitat of the sable antelope is being reduced by habitat destruction for agricultural development. Sable antelope are important to their habitats as grazers and browsers. Most of the commercial sable antelope farmers crossed their Matsetsi sable antelope (indigenous to South Africa) with Zambian sable antelope in the hope to move nearer to the nearly extinct giant sable antelope (that was larger with bigger horns).

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