The Sable Antelopes are a favourite among game and safari tourists, and this is partly because of their beautiful appearance. The Sable is a large and powerful antelope, with the male bulls having a spectacular pair of horns that can grow up to 1.4 metres in length. And they weigh in at a bulky 270kg. Their diet consists almost exclusively of grass, favouring speargrass, red grass and species such as Brachiaria, Urochloa and Panicum. But occasionally they will chew on bones of of carcasses in an attempt to counter phosphorous deficiencies. As such, this grazer prefers open savannah woodlands with good quality grass to both graze on and to provide it with cover from predators. Sable are most active during the early morning or late afternoons and like to drink water around the middle of the day. Herd sizes vary dramatically, and in calving season the pregnant cows leave larger groups that have young and non-breeding antelopes. Territorial bulls will evict younger bulls from breeding herds when they reach sexual maturity at the age of 3 years. Today the Sable is an endangered antelope that has almost all of it’s population distributed solely in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, but other protected areas in southern Africa have some small populations and they are being gradually reintroduced to areas they have never occupied previously.

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Courtesy of Erin Johnson/flickr