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Monday, 3 December 2012

"R" is for Red Hartebeest!

CCF has carried out a number of camera trapping surveys, and also maintains a network of cameras positioned for ongoing monitoring of the wildlife on our land.  While we are mainly focused on cheetahs, there are many other species out there, and the cameras will trigger no matter what passes them by.  In this series of weekly blog entries, I will use these pictures to illustrate some of the wealth of animal life in Namibia - one species per week.  I hope you will enjoy seeing a little more of our world here in the bush.

I'd like to make a special appear to everyone who reads this blog.  Please think of CCF this Christmas.  Many of our camera traps are beginning to feel the ravages of time and will soon need replacement.  Some have been out in the bush in the heat and rain for three continuous years now, and have taken hundreds of thousands of pictures.  However, I very much doubt they'll all survive another year.  We have recently received two brand new camera traps from our generous donors in Germany, but many more are needed if we are going to be able to continue this form of research.  Details of the types of cameras we need can be found on our wishlist.

Now, back to why you're here… R is for… Red Hartebeest.

The Red Hartebeest is one of seven surviving sub-species of Hartebeest and can be found in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and the south of Angola.  It was extensively hunted in the past, but has undergone a significant come-back as a result of it's popularity with both tourists and modern hunters.  It has therefore been reintroduced into a great many private reserves and game farms.  The IUCN lists the Hartebeest as "Least Concern", and the sub-species, the Red Hartebeest, is the most populous with an estimated total of around 130,000 individuals.  A number of the other sub-species are faring much less well however, and may become extinct in the not too distant future.

Hartebeest are striking looking antelope with an impressive capacity for speed.  They stand 1.3m at the shoulder, can weigh over 150 kg, and run at speeds of up to 70 km/h.  Males are usually slightly darker than females, and also somewhat bigger, although both have horns.  Generally hartebeest are social herd animals, although some non-territorial males do live alone.  They breed annually, live to their mid-teens and are commonly found in herds of between a few dozen animals to a few hundred.  Historically even more massive herds were found in Botswana, but the establishment of the veterinary cordon fences there restricted migratory movement and ultimately led to massive population reductions.


Here at CCF, we see red hartebeests commonly on game counts on our big field, and also at waterholes.  Currently the main herd has around 10-12 calves with them, although this number will probably be reduced by the large number of predators in the area. 

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