Great Kudu

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Tragelaphus strepsiceros

Characteristic antelope with tawny coat and whites stripes down the body. The males have dramatic, long spiralled horns.

 Characteristics

Distribution
Occurs from East Africa through parts of central Africa into southern Africa. Although the numbers may not have increased markedly the range of kudus has increased in southern Africa. The increase in range is due to more areas coming under protection. Kudus move great distances and in the past were persecuted as they moved through farmland. Thankfully, they now self-populate within new established reserves and conservation areas.

Social structure
Females form herds which occupy particular home ranges. Males movements are either solitary or in bachelor herds.
Males leave the breeding herd at around two years of age. Males do not have home ranges and can move over vast distances. In a study I was involved in, a marked male was found more that one hundred kilometres from where it was originally tagged. This was in farming area , something which could have made the movement even more difficult.

Range differentiation
There is not much physical differentiation over the range but there is a considerable difference in diet. In the southern parts of its range, the kudu feeds predominantly on the succulent spekboom (Portulacaria afra) whereas further north shrubs and small trees make up most the diet.

Habitat
Once considered to be an animal of savanna woodland, the kudu is found in a wide range of habitats – from woodland to arid savanna – where there is sufficient food and cover.

Feeding
Predominantly browsers, the kudu will also graze (particularly on new grass). On farmland they can be a problem by grazing new crops. They will also eat fruit and seeds.

Breeding
Males will tussle for dominance in order to win mating rights with females in oestrus. The tussles may develop into fights where one may be injured. A single young is born after a nine month gestation period. Young are born throughout the year with a peak around the time of the first rains.