Hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus, is a large high-shouldered antelope called ìrá in Yoruba. The Hartebeest formerly occurred widely in the savanna woodlands of central Nigeria. Nigeria’s own subspecies, the western hartebeest species (which includes the matschiei and invadens subspecies) is a relatively large hartebeest with a high frontal pedicel. In both sexes horns rise from a single pedicel and are 4.5 to 7 cm in length. General color is a dull sandy brown, with the front of the legs darker, and a distinctive white line between the eyes. The Hartebeest weighs some 120 to 200 kg., body length ranges between 5.8 to 8.1 ft. and shoulder height reaches 4.8 ft. Tails may be up to 2.3 ft. Though it is clumsy in appearance, it is in fact one of the fastest antelopes and most enduring runners.

The hartebeest, like many antelope, is primarily diurnal grazers. Unlike other antelopes, Adult females do not form permanent associations with other adults; instead, they are often accompanied by up to four generations of their young. A calf is born after a gestation period of 8 months and may live for up to 20 years. In Nigeria, a very sparse population of the may still be encountered in the northern section of the Gashaka-Gumpti National park.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer