Black wildebeest

Smaller and rarer than Blue wildebeest, sometimes sharing the same areas

Derek Keats

Known for their distinctive horns and dark coloration, these animals share a familial bond with the Blue Wildebeest, yet they carve out their unique niche in the ecosystem. Their life is one of constant movement, driven by an unending quest for fresh grazing lands, mirroring the epic migrations of their cousins, the Blue Wildebeest, particularly the ones seen traversing the expansive plains of the Serengeti.

These migrations are not merely awe-inspiring natural phenomena but are vital for the survival of the species. The journey of the Black Wildebeest unfolds over hundreds of kilometers, driven by the seasons and the availability of grazing resources. This migratory behavior is kicked off shortly after the calving season, a time when the herds are swollen with new life. The early stages of migration are dangerous for these newborn calves, exposing them to a harsh and unforgiving world where predators lurk at every turn. The mortality rate among calves during these initial migrations is high, a grim but natural regulation of the population, ensuring that only the strongest and most adaptable individuals survive.

The history of the Black Wildebeest is a stark reminder of the impact humans can have on wildlife. By the late 19th century, this species was brought to the brink of extinction due to uncontrolled hunting for their hides and meat. The value placed on these animals by hunters nearly erased them from the African plains, leaving them as mere memories in the lands they once roamed freely. However, the story of the Black Wildebeest takes a hopeful turn, thanks to the efforts of conservationists and local farmers who recognized the critical state of this species.

The conservation success story of the Black Wildebeest is emblematic of what can be achieved when humans apply their resources and willpower to rehabilitate wildlife. Today, over 18,000 Black Wildebeest roam the plains of South Africa, a testament to nature’s resilience and the potential for coexistence between humans and wildlife.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Botswana
2016
Introduced
Eswatini
2016
Reintroduced
Lesotho
2016
Reintroduced
Namibia
2016
Introduced
South Africa
2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No