RED LECHWE - Kobus leche
SIZE: Shoulder height (m) 1 m, (f) 0,9 m; mass (m)
100 kg, (f) 80 kg. Only males have the lyre-shaped
COLOUR: Upperparts of body and flanks reddish-yellow,
underparts and insides of legs white. A white band
extends from the white belly to chest and chin. Front
of forelegs blackish. Hair long and rough.
MOST LIKE: Its close relative, the Puku, but is slightly
larger and the male's horns are longer. The black
bands down the front of the forelegs clearly distinguish
it from the puku.
HABITAT: Grassy flood plains and shallow-water in
seasonal swamps. Rarely found more than a kilometre
or two from swamp or river with permanent water.
As a result of its amphibious habits, the lechwe is preyed
on by a variety of predators, from crocodiles and pythons
to lions, leopards, spotted hyaenas and wild dogs. Like
the reedbuck, it sometimes flattens itself on the ground
to avoid detection, suddenly taking off in startled leaps
and bounds. Lechwe may congregate in hundreds or thousands,
although most herds number about 20-30 individuals.
The ram will defend his territory with threatening displays,
and will fight if an intruder tries to mate with one of
his ewes. The clash of horns during these fierce, sometimes
fatal, duels may be heard a long distance away. Calves can
be born at any time of year. Cows leave the herd to give
birth and hide their newborn calves for two to three weeks
in the shelter of reeds on an island or other dry spot.
Calf mortality is high: usually about 50%.
|The Lechwe, or Red Lechwe, is a fleet-footed
water-lover, skimming across wetlands and swamps with the ease
and grace of a gazelle, although it is a bit clumsy and uncertain
on hard ground. Well adapted to wet conditions, its long hooves
splay widely over soft ground, making it sure footed and speedy
over mud, water and reeds. This robust, long-haired antelope
is a strong swimmer, and will dive into water without hesitation
The lechwe comes on to dry land only to rest and calve: the
only antelope that is more adapted to water is the sitatunga.
Lechwe are medium-sized antelope, with coats of long, rough
hair. The hindquarters are higher than the forequarters, and
black encircles the legs between the hooves and the false hooves.
They have a white patch around the eyes. They eat a variety
of grasses, sedges, shrubs and semi-aquatic plants, selecting
for new growth.
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