Roan Antelope

Hippotragus equinus
© Gary Kramer gkramer@cwo.com

Roan Antelope, Hippotragus equinus, called Àgbáñreré in Yoruba, is the most magnificent antelope of the Nigerian plains and scrublands, having a horse-like appearance with a dark-tipped mane. H. equinus kobc, which is the subspecies found in Nigeria, has contrasting black and white face markings, very long pointed ears with tufts on their tips. Males stand at 1.4 m and weigh about 270 kg.

Roan antelopes characteristically associate in breeding herds of about six to 15 individuals. They are grazers that prefer leaves over stems. They will browse if grazing forage is poor. They drink regularly, thus can only inhabit areas with easy access to water. Even lions are reported in some regions to have perished, gored by this scimitar-shaped horns. This ungulate’s long, pointed ears can be swiveled in almost any direction to locate the sounds a threat or danger. They can gallop up 56.3 kilometers per hour. If cornered, these antelope are formidable opponents, charging and brandishing their horns with skill. In spite of all these defensive abilities however, the Roan Antelope is one of the animals commonly hunted by poachers in Nigeria.

Gestation period is for 9 months and the calf lies concealed some distance from the herd, where it will be visited by its mother. They are known to live for up to 17 years in the wild.