|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|The next two weeks will be devoted to African Antilopes.|
Sorry for taking this image from the back side. This was the only angle I got.
Species: Hippotragus niger
Subspecies: Hippotragus niger variani
The Giant Sable Antelope, also known in Portuguese as the Palanca Negra Gigante, is a large, rare subspecies of Sable Antelope native and endemic to the region between Cuango and Luando Rivers in Angola.
There was a great degree of uncertainty regarding the number of animals that survived during the Angolan civil war. In January 2004, a group from the Centro de Estudos e Investigação Científica (CEIC) of the Catholic University of Angola (UCAN), led by Dr. Pedro vaz Pinto, was able to obtain photographic evidence of one of the remaining herds from a series of trap cameras installed in the Cangandala National Park, south of Malanje.
The Giant Sable Antelope is the national animal of Angola, and is held in a great deal of respect by the people of that country. This may be one of the reasons the animals survived the long civil war. In African mythology, just like other antelopes, they symbolize vivacity, velocity, beauty and visual sharpness.
The Giant Sable Antelope is evaluated as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Both sexes have horns, which can reach 1.5 meters. Males and females are very similar in appearance until they reach three years of age when the males become darker and develop majestic horns. The male antelope weighs an average of 238 kg with a height of 116-142 cm. Females weigh 220 kg and are slightly shorter than males. The horns are massive and more curved in males reaching lengths of 81-165 cm, while females' horns are only 61-102 cm in length. Coloration in bulls is black while females and young are chestnut, except in southern populations where females turn brown-black. Most sable antelopes have white "eyebrows", a rostrum sectioned into cheek stripes, white belly and rump patch. Young under two months typically are light brown and have slight markings.
Like all antelopes, Giant Sables are shy by nature, but they can also be very aggressive. The males can be especially dangerous when hurt, attacked, or approached. In fights, males avoid some serious injuries by kneeling down on their front legs, and engage in horn wrestling fights. Fatalities from these fights are rare.
Juvenile Giant Sables are hunted by leopards and hyenas, while adults are only threatened by lions and crocodiles. When startled, the antelope normally run for only a short distance before slowing and looking back; however, when they are pursued, they can run at speeds of up to 35 mph for a considerable distance.
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