Paula Gilhooley…Tsessebe in Kruger National Park

The Tsessebe’s unusual name is derived from aTswana name, tshesebe. These antelope are quite different in appearance and much larger than their fullsizeoutput_1b0fclose relatives the Blesbok and the Bontebok.  They are similar to the Hartebeest in appearance but is darker, in some cases almost violet with black patches on the rear thighs, front legs and face.  Its horns carried by both male and female , curve gently up and back.   They have a characteristic  large shoulder hump and sloping back. (In Kenya and Tanzania they are called Topi) .  They are found in the north in Kruger, in the Kalahari and in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and in Kenya and Tanzania.  They are a highly gregarious antelope, living in herds of fifteen members or more and

fullsizeoutput_1b0e frequently mingling with wildebeests, hartebeests and zebra.  They are very fleet of food and inquisitive and will often run a short distance then stop to look back even if they are in danger.  Although they appear ungainly they are able to run for considerable distances.  They will stand on termite mounds with their head raised as a threatening gesture to rivals, and will fight on their knees with clashing horns.

During mating season bulls select a well defined territory which they defend against all rivals, while females wander from one territory to another.  After mating herds divide into separate female and male herds.  the Females will remain with the territorial male. Only one calf is produced at a time.

Predators include lions, leopard, wild dogs  and  spotted hyaena.  The young are preyed upon by jackal, caracal, serval and large raptors.

 

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