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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tanzania - Safari, The Animals Part 3

Now, on to the antelopes and gazelles.

When Hemingway wrote Green Hills of Africa in the mid-1930s, he mentioned a dozen different types of antelope by my count: Bushbuck, Eland, Gerenuk, Grant's Gazelle, Impala, Kongoni, Kudu, Kudu(Lesser), Oryx, Reedbuck, Sable and Waterbuck.  The book is primarily focused on Ernest's quest for a trophy Kudu.  It might be useful for us, now, to pause and look more generally at what are called antelope.

Google the phrase, "gazelle versus antelope" and you will find the top two links to be the Wikipedia entries for those two words - and following those links won't give you a great deal of satisfaction.  But this best "Yahoo Answer's" entry posted by a former zookeeper gives me a satisfactory answer:
'Antelope' is a catch-all term for bovids (members of the family Bovidae, which includes cattle, sheep, goats and so on) with long, slender limbs. For example, wildebeest, topi, impala, oryx, nilgai, eland and kudu are all antelopes. 'Gazelle' is basically just the name we give to small antelopes, and again there are many species, including the Thomson's gazelle, Grant's gazelle, springbok and gerenuk.
(emphasis added!)

Let's start with a Hartebeest.  Their antlers make them easily identified.

Is this a Hartebeest too?  I'd say, "yes," in a heartbeat.  Which reminds me that sometimes we were told the name of an animal but it was difficult for some people to understand precisely until the driver passed around his guidebook.

Grant's Gazelle and Thomson's Gazelle were found throughout the area.  Thomson's has the black stripe on its side as a distinguishing characteristic.
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The Thomson's Gazelle was encountered much more frequently and in larger numbers.

The smallest of the small antelopes is the Dik-dik.  They are almost pet-sized and we saw them on the grounds of at least one restaurant as well as out in the open.  The photo on the right comes from Melissa, another of our group's photographers.
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We also saw at least one Impala and perhaps some Oryx and Eland.  But, alas, no Kudu.  So, from one point of view, the Safari was a failure.  But a very interesting failure, nonetheless. 

What about Wildebeest?  In spite of its classification as an antelope, it almost never is mentioned as one of them.  And, with good reason.  It just doesn't look very antelope-y.  We encountered them in great numbers.

These are in the bottom of the crater so have no need to follow the spring migration.
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NdutuGraphics-2 SafariAnimals-169

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