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Tsessebe

Damaliscus lunatus

Description:

It is not easy to to groom yourself when you are an antelope. But perhaps this one can run away from some of the annoying insects since the tsessebe is believed to be the fastest antelope in South Africa, with a run speed of maximum 80 km/h.

Habitat:

Mkhaya game reserve, where there is a breeding programme of endangered species in Swaziland. However, there are also some natural predators in the area, such as leopard, hyena and crocodiles.

Notes:

The name ‘tsessebe’ is derived from its Setswana name tshêsêbe. This name indicates its erstwhile occurrence in the Northern Cape Province, a region where it no longer occurs. It was first described scientifically as Antilopa lunata by F Burchell in 1823, based on a specimen that was shot for Burchell on 9 July 1812 along the Makkwarin River, now known as the Matlhwareng River, near Kuruman in the Northern Cape Province. (This specimen is still in the collection of the London Museum of Natural History) There are no valid subspecies but some authors still consider there to be five subspecies. However, this is based on an invalid classification which places the topi, tiang, korrigum and jimela, all now members of Damaliscus korrigum, in the same species as the tsessebe. Nevertheless, some authors still regard the Zambian population as a possible separate species. The tsessebe only occurs in Southern Africa and is found in eastern Angola, eastern and central Zambia, Zimbabwe, northern Botswana, north-eastern Namibia and north-eastern South Africa but it is extinct in the Northern Cape where the first specimen was collected. It has become extinct in Swaziland and Mozambique but may have been reintroduced there.

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Mbabane, Sifundza seHhohho, Swaziland

Lat: -26.62, Long: 31.75

Spotted on Dec 24, 2013
Submitted on Jan 11, 2014

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