Southern Lechwe

Lechwe are antelope from South Central Africa. We have a herd of them that arrived in 2010 and live in our mixed African Paddock which is at the top of the drive in front of the restaurant. Usually herds are single sex, with mingling during mating season. In the wild these herds can reach numbers in the thousands! Quite a sight to behold.

Males are distinguished by large spiralled horns and the fact that they are much larger than the females. Interestingly their hind legs are longer than their front, and the proportion compared to other antelope is much bigger. Their hooves are also elongated and splayed. This is because they are adapted to their natural habitat which is marshy soil. Here they like to eat aquatic plants and use the water as protection from predators. They can run fast in the water and their legs have a water-repellent substance on their fur which aids in their speed.

The main threats they suffer are poaching for their meat and droughts which effect their wetland home. People also effect their wetland habitat as they disrupt the water cycle for their own needs, such as dams for electricity.