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Nile lechwe

Kobus megaceros (Fitzinger, 1855)
French: Cob de Mrs Grey
German: Weißnackenmoorantilope
Dinka dialect: Abiok

Subspecies
no subspecies

Description
Total length: (m) 2.15 m, (f) 1.80 m
Tail length: (m) 50 cm, (f) 45 cm
Shoulder height: (m) 1 m, (f) 80 cm
Weight: (m) up to 120 kg, (f) up to 90 kg
Gestation: ~ 8 months

The rump of the medium-sized antelope stands higher than the shoulders. The most conspicuous feature is the dimorphism of ram and ewe. Whereas the dark coat of the male is long and shaggy with white underparts. A contrasting white stripe stretches along the back of the neck. The long, thin horns form a shallow "S". The ewe is uniform yellowish-brown with long and pointed hoofs.

Distribution
The Nile lechwe is restricted to few limited areas in Sudan and Ethiopia.

Ecology
Befitting to its name, the nile lechwe inhabits swamps and flooded grasslands, where they also find their food.
They can reach several hundred individuals, but normally they occur in herds up to 50 animals. Nursery herds may be accompagnied by one or more adult rams, but males also form bachelor groups. By imminent danger, they readily take to water.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Category, ver 3.1:

- http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/11034/0

Trend:
In the Sudan, populations of Nile Lechwe occur in three nominal protected areas: Zeraf, extending over 9,700 km² along the Bahr-el-Zeraf; Fanyikang, over 480 km², north of Bahr-el-Gazal, which separates them from the Zeraf Reserve; and Shambe, over 620 km², along Bahr-el-Gebel. However, Nile Lechwe move in and out of these nominally protected areas and most occur in areas that are shared seasonally with huge herds of cattle. In Ethiopia, they occur in the Gambella N.P., which has yet to be officially gazetted.


European Collection Plan (2003): ...
RCP status: EEP, Nick Lindsay, Whipsnade, established 1996

Recommendations
Falchetti (1998) outlined priorities for both in situ and ex situ conservation of this species. The urgent need to address these priorities as opportunity permits is underlined by plans to resuscitate the construction of the Jonglei canal, introduce irrigation and exploit oil reserves in southern Sudan (in the Sudd and in Zeraf), which could result in a dramatic deterioration of the Nile Lechwe’s status. There is an increasing population of Nile Lechwe held in captivity (Falchetti 1998).

Literature
Dorst J & Dandelot P (1970): Larger Mammals of Africa, Collins Field Guide, London.
East R (1999): African Antelope Databese 1998. IUCN/SSC Antelope Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
Falchetti E (1998): General issues of in the conservation biology of Nile lechwe (Kobus megaceros) and preliminary guidelines for an action plan. Gnusletter 17 (1): 4-10.
Haltenorth T & Diller H (1977): Saeugetiere Afrikas und Madagaskars, BLV Verlagsgesellschaft, Muenchen. 
Kingdon J (1997): The Kingdon Field Guide To African Mammals, Academic Press, San Diego.
Wilson DE & Reeder DM (2005): Mammal species of the world. A taxonomic and geographic reference. Third Ed., Vol. 1 The John Hopkins University Press, Balitmore.

 

Links

- http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Kobus_megaceros.html
- http://www.arkive.org/nile-lechwe/kobus-megaceros/
- http://www.gisbau.uniroma1.it/amd/amd177b.html

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