This elegant herbivorous mammal is a great swimmer and therefore prefers the wet and marshy areas of south-central Africa. The Southern Lechwe has hooves perfectly adapted to the muddy terrain of the riverbanks of Zambia, Angola, and Botswana, where they can be spotted!
- Length 90 - 112cm
- Weight 61,6 - 128Kg
- Lifespan 15 years
- Diet Creeping herbs
- Habitat Savannah and rivers
- Reproduction 1 - 2 cubs
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Southern Lechwes are antelopes. The hair is hazel colored with a white ventral part as well as the throat and facial marks. They have vertical black spots on the legs. The horns, presented by the males, measure 45 to 92 cm. The hulls are adapted to swampy terrain. They do not have sebaceous glands, but the coat is quite greasy and has a characteristic odor.
The male and female of this species remain separated most of the year. Males are very territorial. Females and their offspring depend on water and are often found near water areas, whereas males do not need as much water and are found at great distances from water sources.
In the herds, composed of several hundred individuals, one male is seen to lead, and several females are seen together with their young, where there is no dominance between females.
Southern Lechwes are active for a few hours before dawn and later in the evening.
A century ago, the population of Southern Lechwe had half a million individuals, but it has always been decreasing. The biggest change was between 1971 and 1987 due to the construction of hydroelectric dams that altered the natural water cycle. The latest available estimates suggest that the population decreased by 25% between 1999 and 2015. The species is therefore close to reaching the limit for Vulnerable in the IUCN criteria. The causes of the decline include poaching, expansion of agriculture and livestock, changes in water management regimes, drought and invasion of exotic plant species. Also, it is one of the many African mammals that have become a tourist attraction.