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ROAN ANTELOPE
ORDER FAMILY Scientific name
Artiodactyla Bovidae Hippotragus equinus
(Desmarest,1804)
HABITAT Roan Antelope are commonly found in areas of lightly wooded savanna and tall grass.
HABITS Roan associate in herds of up to 20 individuals with a very characteristic social structure. Amongst the females, the more dominant is the leader. There is only one adult bull in each herd, the juvenile males being evicted at the age of about 3 years. All the female calves remain within the herd, that , when too big, divides into smaller groups of cows and their young. These groups will form new herds, once again with only one adult bull.
The young males evicted from the herd, associate in "bachelor groups" of up to 12 individuals. Amongst these, the most dominant is the first one in line to join a new group of females, very seldom, on their fights for supremacy, inflicting body harm to their contenders.
Roan Antelope are very courageous animals. If threatened by predators, including Lion, they will confront them, and many of these big cats have perished, gored by the scimitar-shaped horns of Roans.
Adults attain a mass of up to 270Kg. and can live to about 15 years.
DIET Roan Antelope are mainly grazers.
BREEDING The Roan cow, one or two weeks before giving birth, will leave the herd and choose a secluded spot where she will stay until the calf is born.
During the first 4 or 5 weeks, the calf will hide in a clump of grass for most of the day, while the mother rejoins the herd, returning to her young at sunset and staying with him for the night.
One single calf is born after a gestation period of about 9 months. Cows have their first calf at 3 years of age, and conceive again after about 6 weeks of giving birth.

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Last revised: March 22, 2005.