National Animal of Zimbabwe
Antelope is the official national animal of Zimbabwe. Antelope was entitled as the official Zimbabwe national animal. The Giant Sable Antelope is a greatly respected animal which may be one of the reasons it survived the long civil war in Zimbabwe. These antelopes are protected in nature parks where hunting is forbidden as they are vitally endangered. Like its close relative, the Roan, the Sable has a conspicuous mane and this, combined with its horse-like build, have earned them the family name of ‘Hippotragini’, which means ‘horse-goat’. It is estimated that only a thousand Giant Sable Antelopes survive today.
The national animal of Zimbabwe, Sable antelopes are found basically in the southern savannas of Africa from the southeastern part of Kenya, in eastern Tanzania, as well as Mozambique to Zimbabwe and in southern Zaire, mostly in the Miombo Woodland Zone. They prefer a mixture of grassland and savanna woodlands. Dry season feeding areas are grasslands that were once flooded then burned, producing new growth. They avoid vast open lands where possible.
National Animal of Zimbabwe Facts
- Common Name: Antelope or sable antelope
- Scientific Name: Hippotagus niger
- Type: Mammal
- Habitat: The giant sable antelope lives in forests near water, where leaves and tree sprouts are always juicy and abundant
- Color: Male sable antelopes are glossy black except for white markings on their face and belly. They have a tufted tail and a slight mane and long horns that strongly curve backward. Females are reddish brown with smaller and less heavily ridged horns than males.
- Length: 116-142cm (male); 81-165cm (female)
- Height: 117-140 cm.
- Weight: 238kg (male); 220kg (female)
- Diet: Their diet consists predominantly of grass. They favor spear grass, red grass and various species of Brachiaria, Urochloa and Panicum.
- Cubs: The breeding season extends from May to July. The gestation period is around 9 months and a single calf is born
- Behavior: Like all antelopes, giant sables are shy by nature, but they can also be very aggressive when hurt, attacked, or approach
- Lifespan: 16-19 years
The national animal of Zimbabwe, Antelope can be both nocturnal and diurnal. They prefer to feed until just before dark in order to avoid predators. Most antelope move about a mile each day, even less when it is the dry season. They live in herds consisting of 10 to 30 individuals, usual females with their young with one male leader. Like others of their kind, sable antelope have a social structure based on territory, age, and strength. The strongest adult males, called bulls, set up territories in good grazing areas. They endlessly patrol which encourages females to enter and challenge other males. A challenge begins with circling each other, pawing the ground and pouring tails. It ends when the bulls drop to their knees and lock horns. From there it’s a pushing contest, and the strongest antelope wins. Females constitute herds of 5 to 20, sometimes more. Calves are born a grayish-brown color without markings. As they age, their color changes. The female antelope normally go through only one estrous cycle per reproduction season, which occurs from May to July, but peak mating in June. They give birth of single calf after a gestation period of 270 to 280 days, frequently in the rainy season, when long grass is available for cover.
Zimbabwe’s national animal sable antelope is around, barrel-chested antelope with a short neck and a long face. It resembles the larger roan antelope, to which it is closely related. Among its distinctive features are its long horns, some 40 to 65 inches long. The ringed horns rise vertically and then sweep backward in a pronounced curve. They are found in both sexes, but the male’s horns are slightly larger and heavier than the female’s. Sable antelopes are herbivorous. They are specialized browsing animals and feed upon foliage, leaves, medium length grass, and herbs, especially those growing on termite mounds. The leaves of trees provide ninety percent of their diet.