Facts about this animal
The head is characterized by a small naked rhinarium, the absence of infraorbital glands, and white marks on muzzle, chin and around the eyes. Horns are present only in males. They are slender, lyre-shaped and heavily ridged, sweeping backwards and outwards, the tips curving forwards. The horn length is 60-83 cm.
Lechwes are social animals living usually in groups of up to 30 animals, but may congregate to much larger herds. During the mating period, males are territorial keeping small territories for mating. Ewe herds move freely between ram territories. After a pregnancy period of 7.5 months (about 225 days) usually one singly calf is born, which weighs about 5 kg at birth. The calves remain hideden for 2 to 3 weeks. They are weaned at 6-7 months of age.
Lechwes are grazers feeding mainly on semi-aquatic grasses, but also sour-grasses and herbs are eaten.
There are three extant subspecies: The Kafue lechwe (kafuensis) and the Black lechwe (smithemani), which both inhabit parts of Zambia, and the Red lechwe (leche) which has a wider distribution.
Did you know?
that the lechwe is the second most aquatic antelope after the sitatunga? They are good swimmers, but prefer to wade while walking on boggy ground.
|Name (Scientific)||Kobus leche|
|Name (English)||Lechwe Waterbuck|
|Name (French)||Cobe lechwe|
|Name (Spanish)||Cobo de Lechwe|
|Local names||Afrikaans: Basterwaterbok|
|CITES Status||Appendix II|
|CMS Status||Not listed|
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|Range||Zimbabwe and adjoining areas in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zaire|
|Wild population||Red Lechwe: 98.000; Kafue Lechwe 78.000; Black Lechwe: 36.000; Upemba Lechwe: less than 1.000; Robert Lechwe: extinct (Red List IUCN 2011)|
|Zoo population||663 reported to ISIS (2005)|
In the Zoo
How this animal should be transported
For air transport, Container Requirement 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.
Road transport (according to the South African Standard SANS 10331): Transport cows and calves in mass crates. Tranquillize adults. Transport bulls separately in compartments in a mass crate under tranquillization. If crated individually, the crates should be placed transversely on the transport vehicle, so that the heads of the animals face outwards.
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Why do zoos keep this animal
There is an International Studbook and North American zoos run a cooperative breeding programme.