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The sable antelope

11 September 2015

 

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The short, stocky build of the sable antelope Hippotragus niger resembles that of a horse. This is reflected in its scientific name Hippotragus which is a based on a combination of the Greek words hippos for a horse and tragus for a goat, while the name niger is Latin for black. Literally this name therefore means a black horse-like goat. William Cornwall Harris first described the sable antelope scientifically based on a specimen that was shot in the Cashan Range (Magaliesberg), but Sundevall coined the name Hippotragus in 1845 for the blue buck, sable and roan antelope.

Fossil forms of Hippotragus lived in North Africa 1 million years ago and fossils have also been found in the Western Cape at Langebaanweg and Elandsfontein. There are four living subspecies of Hippotragus niger in Africa, with Hippotragus niger niger occurring in southern Africa including the sable antelope of western Zambia based on its genetics... (Become a subscriber for more)

 

References:

Cloete, F 2015. Lewendewild-handel stoom voort. Game & Hunt 21(02): 71 - 74.

Jansen van Vuuren, B, TJ Robinson, P VazPinto, R Estes & C Matthee 2010. Western Zambian sable: are they a geographic extension of the giant sable antelope? South African Journal of Wildlife Research 40(1): 35 – 42.

Kriek, JC 2005. The sable antelope. In J du P Bothma en N van Rooyen (Eds), Intensive wildlife production in southern Africa. Pretoria: Van Schaik.

Rabie, J 2011. Die herlewing en genetiese herstel van die swartwitpens. Game & Hunt 17(3): 53 - 57.

Skinner, JD & CT Chimimba (Eds) 2005. The mammals of the southern African subregion, derde uitgawe. Cambridge Cambridge University Press.

Van Rooyen, N & J du P Bothma 2016. Veld management in the African savannas. In: Game ranch management, sixth edition. Pretoria: Van Schaik.

 

article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

 

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