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Western Hartebeest
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Alcelaphinae
Genus: Alcelaphus
Species: A. buselaphus
Subspecies: A. b. major
Trinomial name
Alcelaphus buselaphus major
(Blyth, 1869)

The Western Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus major) is an antelope native to the medium to tall grassland plains of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo. It is possibly extirpated from Gambia.

Average adult Western Hartebeest stand 1.4 metres (4.6 ft) tall at the shoulder and weigh 145 kilograms (320 lb).[2] A Western Heartebeest's coat is fawn colored, ranging from tan to dark brown. It has a small hump at the front shoulders. It has slim legs and a very narrow face. Both sexes are horned. Horns may be 45–70 centimetres (18–28 in) long.[3] There is considerable variation in horn growth, however they generally grow sideways out from the head, before curving forward, then inward and backward. The horns are terminated by sharp tips.

The Western Hartebeest is mainly active during the day. A herbivore, it grazes during the cooler morning and afternoon periods, resting in shaded areas during the hot daytime. Females form herds of five to twelve members, while males generally remain solitary. [4] While the herd is feeding, one member will act as a sentry, watching for possible predators. If threatened, the herd flees as a single file group, reaching speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph),[2] making it one of the fastest antelopes.[4] Herds are generally sedentary; animals spend much of their day resting in shade to escape high noon-time heat. They will move as a herd to find water. In particularly dry seasons, or in times of drought, herds of females will migrate together seeking water or better grazing.

Western Hartebeest are generally not aggressive, but they will fight to protect their young or their claimed area. Males claim areas of plains averaging 31 hectares (0.31 km2), for periods of 4–5 years. Males protect their claimed area fiercely. Males have been known to go without water to protect their territory.[4] If a male leaves his territory to find water, another male may usurp the territory.

References

  1. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Alcelaphus buselaphus spp. major. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 11 February 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Western Hartebeest". Blue Forest Safaris. http://www.wild-about-you.com/GameWestHartb.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-14.  
  3. ^ "Western Hartebeest Hunting African Safaris". BlueWaterBigGame.com, LLC. http://www.bluewaterbiggame.com/game/african_western_hartebeest.cfm. Retrieved 2008-08-14.  
  4. ^ a b c "Hartebeest {Alcelaphus Buselaphus}". SA-Venues.com. http://www.sa-venues.com/wildlife/wildlife_hartebees.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-14.  
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