Saturday, March 3, 2012

Survival in the African Bush

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
- Charles Darwin



New-born antelope calf hiding in the grass in the African Bushveld. Location Krugersdorp Game Reserve, Krugersdorp, South Africa.

The antelope is one of the many medium-sized mammals holding the African food chain together. Unlike deer that renew their horns annually, the antelope has strong permanent horns, that antelope mainly use to defend their herd or to fight other antelopes.

After mating, female antelopes give birth to a single calf or, more rarely, twins, after a gestation period that can last up to eight months. A mother and her newborn calf are vulnerable to predators, and antelopes have had to evolve different strategies for surviving this period. For most antelope species, the female gives birth in dense cover and leaves the calf while she feeds. The calf comes to its mother when she calls it, and once fed, the calf will hide away again. Once in its hiding place, the calf remains completely still, blending into the surrounding landscape becoming almost invisible. It will run away only if it is on the verge of being discovered.

Did you know that small antelope, such as Dik-diks, tend to be monogamous? They live in a forest environment with patchy resources, and a male is unable to monopolize more than one female due to this sparse distribution. Larger forest species often form very small herds of 2–4 females and 1 male.



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12 comments:

  1. Great post Maree, very informative, a beautiful sketch and a great quotation from Darwin.
    Best wishes

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  2. Thanks ever so much Matteo!

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  3. A beautiful sketch, Maree! The info was very interesting too.

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  4. lovely sketch and interesting piece of information.

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    1. Thank you, glad you like it Concetta!

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  5. Wonderful post, Maree. Great information, and a really lovely watercolor sketch!

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  6. Thanks Maree to your post because I traveled to Africa with the mind and eyes!

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    1. thank you Maria! Arm-chair travelling is wonderful, isn't it?

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  7. I think this sketch is my new favorite of your Maree. I agree with Maria--you take us on such a lovely journey with with words and art.

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    1. I also enjoy seeing everybody else's worlds through their eyes Paula, such enlightenment! Glad you like this, thanks ever so much!

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