Lesser kudu

Bushland antelope found in East Africa; often considered the pretties of all antilopes

Lip Kee Yap

Adorned with a unique white stripe that cascades down its back and flanks, the Lesser Kudu presents a visage of grace and agility that is unrivaled in the animal kingdom. The males of the species further enhance this allure with their remarkable spiraled horns, which can reach lengths of up to 1 meter (3.5 feet), serving as both a symbol of masculinity and a formidable tool during bouts of competition for mates.

Inhabiting the dry, densely vegetated savannahs and scrublands of eastern and northeastern Africa, Lesser Kudus has evolved to thrive in these challenging environments. Their preference for dense cover facilitates their browsing diet, consisting mainly of leaves, shoots, and occasionally fruits, and provides them with a sanctuary from the prying eyes of predators and humans alike.

Despite the advantages afforded by their natural camouflage and the fact that about one-third of the Lesser Kudu population resides within the relative safety of protected areas, they are not immune to the pressures exerted by human expansion. The relentless encroachment of human activities into their territories—be it through agricultural development, settlement growth, or the construction of infrastructure—poses a significant threat to their existence. Habitat loss and fragmentation not only diminish the available space for Lesser Kudus to live and feed but also isolate populations, impeding genetic flow and reducing the species’ overall resilience to environmental changes and diseases.

With an estimated total population nearing 120,000 individuals, the Lesser Kudu finds itself at a critical juncture. The rate of decline in their numbers, which has accelerated to approximately twenty percent over the last two to three decades, underscores the urgency with which conservation measures need to be implemented.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Djibouti
2016
Possibly Extinct
Ethiopia
2016
Kenya
2016
Somalia
2016
South Sudan
2016
Tanzania
2016
Uganda
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