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Black Wildebeest Facts

TAXONOMY
Antilope gnou (Zimmerman, 1780), Cape Province, South Africa. Monotypic.

OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: White-tailed gnu; French: Gnou à queue blanche; German: Weißschwanzgnu; Spanish: Nu negro.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
Body size 5.6–7.Three ft (170–220 cm); shoulder peak 3–four ft (90–120 cm); tail 2.6–3.Three ft (80–100 cm); 242–396 lb (110–180 kg), feminine smaller than male. Horns 18–31 in (45–78 cm). Dark brown to black, males darker than females. Both have lighter coats in summer time and heavier coats in winter. Bristly mane stands up on neck and is cream to white, with black tips. Beard is black.

DISTRIBUTION
East-central South Africa, primarily japanese northern Cape and Free State: previously central Cape Province to Natal and southern Transvaal.

HABITAT
Open plains, previously in Karoo (arid shrublands) and grassland.

BEHAVIOR
Females and younger type carefully knit herds with a definite hierarchy; males type bachelor teams. Territorial conflicts contain ritualized posturing and horn wrestling, accompanied by a blaring “ge-nu” name. Possibly initially had in depth actions or migrations, now restricted by fencing.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Primarily a grazer, preferring quick grasses; in winter, additionally browses on karroid bushes.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY
Polygynous. The main mating season is February–April. Gestation interval 8–8.5 months; calves are born in November–January. Young weaned after 4 months. Females ####ually mature at 1.5–2.5 years, males at three years. Lifespan up to 20 years.

CONSERVATION STATUS
Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent. No really wild animals stay, all being descended from captive people.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
These animals had been virtually exterminated by white settlers, who seen them as pests, and in addition valued their tails, which they used as fly swats.

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