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Wildebeest

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Matilda Cruz
Matilda double majored in zoology and animal behavior at the University of Hawaii. She’s been an animal lover from a young age and knew she wanted to study them even more for her career. She’s always looking for ways to spread her animal knowledge.

The wildebeest, also known as the gnu, is native to the southern and eastern regions of Africa. There are two species of wildebeest, namely the black wildebeest and blue wildebeest. The shape of their horns and the color of their coats are the main distinguishing features of black and blue wildebeests. Of the two, the blue wildebeest is the largest.

Interesting facts about the wildebeest:

  • The name wildebeest is an Afrikaans word that means wild beast. The wildebeest earned its name from its intimidating appearance.
  • Wildebeests are herbivores and nomadic. Wildebeests migrate seasonally in search of grass and water. Their migration also ensures they don’t overgraze a single area.
  • Herds of wildebeest can reach from tens to thousands. When a herd settles temporarily, male wildebeest, or bulls, become territorial.
  • Wildebeests are seasonal breeders, and female wildebeests, or cows, commonly give birth to one calf after nine months of gestation. Most wildebeest cows give birth at the same time, and herds start migrating shortly after the calving season.
  • A wildebeest’s natural life span is between 20 and 40 years if it manages to survive predators and the dangers that come with migration.
  • Black wildebeests live in three different types of herds. These herds consist of territorial bulls competing for mates, female-only herds, and bachelor herds of juvenile males. Older bulls are usually isolated from herds.
  • The wildebeest is not considered endangered, but the biggest threats to their existence are the fragmentation of their natural habitat for agriculture, poaching, and water scarcity.
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10 COMMENTS

  1. Who cares?!!! They are migratory throughout Africa ranging about 10,000 miles. They can’t really be kept in zoos because they pace and self-destruct trying to jump the fences. They need to keep moving all the time. It’s in their DNA. Humans are the biggest problem, as usual. Natural predators take a small percentage. Humans cut off their migratory pathways and destroy thousands. It doesn’t matter how fast they can run.

  2. Oh yes, and the poor individual in the picture is put at a disadvantage because of the collar. Every predator will key in to that and it won’t live very long because it has been humanly singled out of the herd. Visually it’s a target and it might also get hung up on bushes or trees. Either way, it is at a huge disadvantage because of human intervention that isn’t helpful. Humans should help them live and migrate in their own way.

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