Gerenuk

Litocranius walleri

SUBFAMILY

Antilopinae

TAXONOMY

Gazella walleri (Brooke, 1879), Somalia. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Giraffe gazelle, gugufto, nanjaat, Waller's gazelle. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Gerenuks have a head and body length of 4.6-5.2 ft (140-160 cm), tail length of 8.7-13.8 in (22-35 cm), shoulder height of 3.0-3.3 ft (90-100 cm), and weight of 64-128 lb (29-58 kg). Males and females possess a similar shape, but males are more muscular so weigh more than females. They have long necks and long, slender legs, both which are their most defining features. The giraffe-like neck is only 7-10 in (180-255 mm) in circumference. Their coat contains short, fine, glossy hair that is evenly distributed throughout the body, and is colored a pale tawny brown with white along the breast, underbelly, and inner legs. There are small, dark patches of fur on the knees of the forelegs and at the end of the tail. The long, narrow head contains medium-sized ears, with reduced cheek teeth and chewing (masseter) muscle. There is a narrow muzzle with very flexible lips; the long upper lip and long tongue both help to pluck high-reaching leaves off of trees. The dark patch around the eyes becomes paler as it goes outward until it forms a white rim. Only males have horns, which are scimitar shaped; relatively massive; curved backward, upward, and hooked forward near the ends; and of length 9.8-17.3 in (25-44 cm).

DISTRIBUTION

Eastern Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, northeastern Tanzania. HABITAT

Their habitat varies from treeless plains (in southern portions of the range) to dry high deserts (in northern portions). They are well adaptable and do well in a variety of habitats as long as there is an ample supply of succulent plants.

BEHAVIOR

Gerenuks are primarily active during the day. Males are solitary and very territorial, only associating with females during the mating season or when they are young. Dominant males establish territories by marking shrubs and trees with their preorbital gland. A male inside his own territory will not force off other dominant males, but will show aggression to young males who enter his domain. Male territories are 300-850 acres (120-345 ha) and can support several individuals. Females form small bands of up to about ten individuals, usually consisting of related female adults with young and roaming freely throughout male territories. Young males will often form bachelor herds that roam nomadically until they become mature enough to develop their own territories and to breed. They travel singly, in pairs, or in groups of 6-7 females led by a single male. Gerenuks will stand motionless, hiding behind bushes or trees, when predators approach, and then look over or around their cover by means of their long neck. When frightened, they leave in a stealthy, crouched trot with neck and tail carried horizontally. They are not fast animals, as compared to the other genera.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

They are well adapted to foraging in arid habitats, usually alone. Their long necks and legs, and their ability to stand (even walk to a certain extent) on their hind legs, allow them to obtain tree leaves that are high off the ground and out of the reach of most other animals. It usually leans with its front legs against a tree trunk or a branch. They consume a select number of herbaceous plants, often numbering as many as 80 different plant species, including grasses, foliage, acacia leaves, and succulent plant parts. They do not drink standing water, but take in moisture within succulent plants that they eat.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The mating ritual of gerenuks is complicated. Females will raise their nose into the air when seeing a potential male mate, and then pull her ears close to the head as a defensive sign. At the same time, males will display his horns and neck in a sideways pose. If the male sees that the female is receptive, he will mark the female on the thigh with the contents of his pre-orbital gland and then follow her around in a stance of guarding her. He will repeatedly kick the female in her thigh region. When she attempts to urinate the male will perform (what is called) the "flehmen test" or "lip curl test" where he smells her urine. When the female comes into estrous the male will notice the difference in the urine and will begin mating. The polygamous males will perform this routine on several females. The gestation period is about 165 days. Females breed every 1-2 years, depending on the sex of their previous year's offspring, and will give birth to one young, rarely two. Reproduction occurs throughout the year, often depending on the quality and quantity of available food. Newborns begin to walk almost immediately after being born, and are able to eat tender leaflets. Young gerenuks will remain motionless in bushes and tall grasses while mothers are feeding to help hide from predators. The weaning period is 12-18 months. Male young sexually mature later than female young, with an average maturity period of 1-2 years. The average life span in the wild is 10-12 years, with females slightly outliving males.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent. A wide range of predators, especially Cape hunting dogs, hyenas, leopards, lions, and cheetahs, preys upon gerenuks. Young are often preyed upon by desert lynxs, large eagles, honey badgers, and servals (African wild cats).

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

They are hunted for their meat and as trophies. ♦

Common name / Scientific name/ Other common names

Physical characteristics

Habitat and behavior

Distribution

Diel

Conservation status

Dibatag

Ammodorcas clarkei English: Clarke's gazelle

Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra English: Sasln; French: Antilope cervicapre; Spanish: Cervicapra

Upperparts are grayish fawn, rump and undersides are white, white stripes run from above eye to muzzle. Line of chestnut across nose. Body is thin, legs and neck are long and thin. Head and body length 59.8-66.1 in (152-168 cm), tail length 9.8-13.8 in (25-35 cm), weight 49-77 lb (22-35 kg).

Females and young upper coats are yellowish fawn; after two years, males gradually darken from tan to deep brown or black. Both sexes have white under-parts and short tails. Only males have spiral, ridged horns, 14-29 in (35-73 cm). Head and body length 39.6-60 in (100-150 cm); shoulder height 24-33.6 in (60-85 cm); tail length 4-6.8 in (1017 cm); weight 55-77 lb (25-35 kg).

Sandy areas with scattered thorn scrub and grasses to arid, low-lying, scrub-covered plains. Births occur in October and November. Diurnal, motile, solitary, territorial, and social.

Dry woodland and clearings. Diurnal during the cooler season, graze in the open in the early morning and late afternoon during warmer weather. Alert females, and then the entire herd of animals, leap into the air upon recognizing a potential threat. Males are territorial during the breeding season.

Eastern Pakistan (extinct but reintroduced); India from Punjab south to Madras and east to Bihar (formerly up to Assam); extinct in Bangladesh and now localized in India; introduced to Nepal, Texas, United States, and Argentina.

Eastern Pakistan (extinct but reintroduced); India from Punjab south to Madras and east to Bihar; introduced to Nepal; Texas, United States; and Argentina.

Leaves and shoots.

Vulnerable

Grasses, leaves, buds, and field fruits.

Vulnerable

[continued]

Common name / Scientific name/ Other common names

Physical characteristics

Habitat and behavior

Distribution

Diet

Conservation status

Dama gazelle Gazella dama French: Gazelle dama

Grant's gazelle Gazella grantI

Red-fronted gazelle Gazella rufifrons

Slender-horned gazelle Gazella leptoceros English: Loder's gazelle, rhlm; sand gazelle; French: Rhim, gazelle deptocère gazelle à cornes fines

Persian gazelle Gazella subgutturosa English: Goitered gazelle

Tibetan gazelle Procapra picticaudata English: Goa

Large body, reddish brown coat. Face, bottom, and rump are white. White patch on throat. Thin legs and skinny neck. Horns are S-shaped. Head and body length 55.2-66 in (140-168 cm), shoulder height 36-48 in (91-122 cm), weight 88-187 lb (40-85 kg).

Upperparts are fawn colored; underparts are white. Some populations have a dark stripe along the mid-body. Both sexes have horns; males' are longer, up to 19.2-31.2 in (50-80 cm), thicker, and more strongly ringed. Males weigh 121176 lb (55-80 kg); females weigh 77110 lb (35-50 kg).

Upper coat is short and tan; underparts are white. Red forehead with faint red and cream lines from the eyes to the nose. Tail has a black tuft. Both sexes have thick, ridged horns; female length 6-10 in (15-25 cm); male length 8.8-14 in (22-35 cm). Head and body length 42-48 in (105-120 cm); shoulder height 25.6-35.2 in (65-92 cm); tail length 6-10 in (15-25 cm); weight 4477 lb (20-35 kg).

Upper coat is buffy brown with faint stripes on the face and flanks; underparts are white. Both sexes have horns, males' are longer and ridged. Head and body length 39.6-43.2 ft (100-110 cm); shoulder height 25.2-28.8 ft (65-72 cm); tail length 6-8 in (15-20 cm); weight 4466 lb (20-30 kg).

Body light brown, darker toward belly; white underparts; black tail. Only males have black, S-shaped horns, 10-17.2 in (25-43 cm) long. During the breeding season, the males' larynx bulges outwards, resembling a goiter. Head and body length 36-45.6 in (90-115 cm); shoulder height 24-1.2 in (60-80 cm); tail length 6-8 in (15-20 cm); weight 40-73 lb (18-33 kg).

Coat is orange-buff above in summer, with pinkish cinnamon sides, and paler in the winter; underparts are white. Only males have horns, 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm) long. Head and body length 37.4-58.3 in (95-148 cm); tail length 0.8-4.7 in (2-12 cm); shoulder height 21.3-33.1 in (54-84 cm); weight 44-88 lb (20-40 kg).

Arid areas with sparse vegetation, including pastures of the Sahara Desert in the rainy season and semi-deserts and open bushlands in the dry season. Diurnal species. Occur singly or in small groups of 15 to 20 individuals.

Semi-desert and open savannas. Can obtain sufficient water from vegetation during drought. Form mixed-sex groups; males are territorial during the breeding season.

Open savanna and vegetation-covered dunes of the Sahel. Obtains water from vegetation, but more water-dependent than other species of gazelle. Migrate seasonally. Live in small mixed herds of 2-6 animals, rarely up to 15; breeding males defend territories.

Formerly from Morocco, western Sahara, Mauritania, and Senegal east to Egypt and Sudan. Now extinct in Mauritania, Senegal, Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt; survives at least in Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Sudan.

Southeastern Sudan, northeastern Uganda and southern Ethiopia south to southern Somalia, Kenya, and northern Tanzania.

Senegal to northeastern Ethiopia, south to northern Togo and northern Central African Republic.

Herbs, shrubs, and coarse desert grasses.

Endangered

Grasses,leaves, and fruits.

Lower Risk/ Conservation Dependent

Grasses and leaves.

Vulnerable

Live in the desert, in small, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Grasses, succulents,

Endangered mixed groups of 3-10 individuals, sometimes up to 20. Males are territorial during the breeding season.

Live in deserts, semi-deserts, hilly plains, and plateaus in southern and central Asia. In summer, found in small family groups of 2-5 animals; in winter, large herds with dozens or even hundreds of individuals. Males are territorial during the breeding season.

Dry grassland up to 18,860 ft (5,750 m). Northward migration in spring, at which time herds of 6,000-8,000 individuals form.

western Egypt, Niger, and northern Chad.

Israel; Jordan, central Arabia and eastern Caucasus through Iran; Afghanistan; west-central Pakistan; Kazakhstan; Turmenistan; Uzbekistan; Mongolia; and western China.

Szechuan, Tsinghai, and Tibet, China; and adjacent Indian Himalayas.

herbs, and foliage of shrubs. They obtain sufficient water from their food, but drink water when it's available.

Grasses, leaves, and shoots.

Lower Risk/Near Threatened

Vegetation.

Lower Risk/Near Threatened

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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