Wildebeest {Connochaetes Gnou}

The wildebeest roams the grasslands of South Africa in large herds

South Africa WildlifeThe Wildebeest {Connochaetes Gnou}

The wildebeest roams the open grasslands of South Africa in large herds of up to 50. It always remains close to water supplies, grazing in the morning and late afternoon, and resting in the hot sun in between.

The head of the wildebeest is large and box-like. Both males and females have curving horns, that are close together at the base, but curve outward, inward and slightly backward. The body looks disproportionate, as the front end is heavily built, the hindquarters slender and the legs spindly. The wildebeest is gray with darker vertical stripes that look almost black from a distance.

Quick Facts

Size

Stands 50 to 58 inches at the shoulder.

Weight

Between 300 and 400 pounds.

Habitat

Wildebeest are found in open woodlands and on grassy plains.

Distribution

In South Africa, distribution is concentrated to the north-eastern regions of the country. Although Wildebeest are not regarded as endangered, they are mostly found only in conservation areas.

Diet - Herbivore

Strictly grazers, wildebeest prefer short grass. They are unable to go without water for more than a few days.

Socialisation

Wildebeest are continually on the move as they look for supplies of grass and water. Active both day and night, they have a tendency to string out in long single columns when on the move. They cover long distances at a slow rocking gallop but can run fast when necessary.

During mating season smaller breeding groups of about 150 animals form within the massive herds. In these small groups, five or six of the most active bulls establish and defend territories that females wander through. The bulls perform antics, galloping and bucking around their territories. They paw the ground and rub their heads on it, spreading secretions. They also urinate and daefecate in a certain spot and toll in it to signal to other bulls to stay away.

Reproduction

Females give birth to one calf at a time.

Gestation

Gestation period is 8.5 months.

Life expectancy

20 years in the wild (according to the AWF, they can life up to 40 years).

Predators

!

Wildebeest Conservation Status

  • Least Threatened

South Africa's Big Five

Did you know?

The wildebeest is also called a gnu. It is a member of the antelope family.

Black Wildebeest are endemic to South Africa.

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