Thomson’s gazelle is the official national animal of Malawi. The scientific name of the Thomson’s gazelle or the Tommie gazelle is Eudorcas thomsonii. The national animal of Malawi, the Thomson’s gazelle is the smallest, daintiest and fastest of all gazelles, which was named after the Scottish explorer, Joseph Thomson who explored Africa in 1890.The word “gazelle” originated from the Ethiopian word “dangelo” which means “swift deer.” Gazelles are known as speedy animals. Some are able to run at bursts as high as 100 km/h (60 mph) or run at a sustained speed of 50 km/h (30 mph).
Thomson’s Gazelles are found on dry, grassy plains in Sudan, Tanzania and the Serengeti areas of Kenya and also found in East Africa and although in other parts of Africa where their numbers may have declined. Thomson’s gazelle is hunted for their skins, meat, and as trophies. Thomson’s gazelle was entitled as the official Thomson’s national animal. It is also the national animal of Swaziland.
National Animal of Malawi Facts
- Common Name: Thomson’s gazelle
- Scientific Name: Eudorcas thomsonii
- Color: dark brown with the under parts, flanks and limbs being light brown.
- Length: male-101-115cm; female-98-101cm
- Height: 60–110 cm (2–3.5 ft) high at the shoulder
- Weight: male-20-35kgs; female-16-25kgs
- Diet: Herbivores. They are browsers and grazers, eating herbs and shrubs in the summer and green grasses in the winter
- Cubs: Females usually give birth to one baby per season and, on average, 11 in her lifetime
- Behavior: gazelles are diurnal and highly territorial. Their territories are widely spaced apart. They generally gather in three groups: maternity herds, bachelor male herds, and territorial solitary males
- Lifespan: 8-15 years
Malawi’s national animal Thomson’s gazelle is an animal of the eudorcas genus. The coat of the Thomson’s gazelle or the mountain gazelle is taupe to dark-brown on the back, neck and head, while the belly and buttocks are pure white, with these tones being separated on the flanks by a dark narrow band. The coat is short, sleek and glossy in summer, reflecting much of the sun’s radiation. In winter the pelage is much longer, dense and rainproof and not glossy, enabling the gazelles to withstand the heavy winter rains (800 to 1000 mm) in northern Malawi. Thomson’s Gazelles have a skinny black stripe on the face which scurry s down from the eye, a dark marking on their nose and a pale patch on their forehead. Males have extensive pointed horns those are marked with around 20 rings. Females have mostly no horn at all but occasionally they have small, short, slim horns.
The national animal of Malawi, Thomson’s gazelle is diurnal and highly territorial. Their territories are widely spaced apart. They generally gather in three groups: maternity herds, bachelor male herds, and territorial solitary males. Males attend to one or more females and their young generally in groups of 3–8. Estrous occurs every 18 days and lasts 12–24 hours, repeating until the female becomes pregnant. Males and females reproduce with various partners. Females usually give birth to one baby per season (and, on average, 11 in her lifetime).
The usual mating season is in early winter (October to November), although mating also occurs in the spring (April to mid-May) and at other times when food is plentiful. The gestation period is about 180 days. Newborns generally weigh about 11–12% of the mother’s weight. Fights occur more frequently as males mature; however, fights between neighboring males are ritualized and less violent than when males fight over females. Immature bachelor males make more numerous contacts with their horn when fighting than do adult or territorial males. They regularly migrate over 75 miles (120 km) for food. Normally they will spend days resting and sleeping in hilly areas and later will descend to valleys in order to feed at nights or in early mornings.