The Impala

The Impala, or Aepyceros melampus in Latin, is a member of the Bovidae family and are related to goats, cattle and sheep. The Impala is a herbivore species that will graze and browse, this gives it a better chance of survival in the dry winters of South Africa. They are known to all-groom, meaning that they groom each other as well as themselves.

Impalas reach an average-sized adult man’s chest and weights about the same as a large dog – 88 to 165 lbs (40 to 75 kilogrammes). They grow to 33 to 39 inches (84 to 99 centimetres). The ginormous impala herds with their calves, in the Kruger national park, make fantastic photo opportunities.
The rams will make a very loud rasping grunt. They do this to warn other males to keep away from their females in the mating season. These grunts can especially be heard in May. Impalas will also make grunting noise to warn their herd about incoming danger.
The males are known for their elegant horns which they use as a fighting mechanism against other rams in the mating seasons (the horns grow as long as 18 to 37 inches (46 to 94 cm). A winning male can be heard a group of 50 females at most. The losing male will join a “bachelor” herd.
The female will leave the herd before she gives birth after a gestation period of 6 to 7 months. This occurs in spring. Most of the time a female will only deliver one offspring at a time. After one to two days the mother will return to the herd with her calf. The calf will be weaned at 4 to 7 months. When impalas are 12 to 18 months old, they are sexually matured. An average Impala will live 13 years in the wild.

Written By: Tersha Van Staden
Photo Credit: Villiers Steyn

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