Dr. Charles van Riper III

Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment
USGS Research Scientist Emeritus  

Sonoran Desert Research Station
125 Biological Sciences East ~ University of Arizona ~Tucson, AZ 85721-125
(520) 626-7027 ~ (520) 670-5100 fax ~ (520) 491-0721 call

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Wildlife of South Africa at Venetia Limpopo and Silkaatskop 
Including Chief Kgosi Mmusi Moses Maotoe's Tribal Lands

A Study by Dr. Charles van Riper III with assistance from Eddie Westphal

   Introduction | Methods of Study | Study Areas | Venetia Limpopo | Credits and Funding | Wildlife of Africa |
Predators | Classic African Animals | Small Antelope | Large Antelope | Small Mammals


The largest antelope in Venetia Limpopo,
ElandEland prefer open savanna and montane grassland habitats. Groups of up to approximately 10 may be observed. A distinctive clicking is heard as Eland walk, due to the hooves clicking together. Both sexes have horns, although the male's are larger.

Gemsbok are found in the more arid country consisting of deserts, semi-desert, open savanna, and bush savanna, but have done well after importation to Venetia Limpopo. Gregarious and diurnal, these predominant grazers will also browse and drink water if available but do not need standing water because they.have a specialized metabolism to allow survival of high heat and dryness. Both sexes have horns, with the female having the longest; males tend to have thicker but shorter horns that sweep upward over the back.

Impala are herding animals, diurnal, browsing and grazing. impalahead.jpgMales establish lecks and mark their territories with urine and feces piles. This is the most abundance mammal at Venetia Limpopo and they are usually found near water. This is also the most abundant mammal at
Chief Kgosi Mmusi Moses Maotoe's tribal lands at Silkaatskop.

This regal antelope with its symmetrical spiral horns, is the second most abundant species at Venetia Limpopo and
Chief Kgosi Mmusi Moses Maotoe's tribal lands at Silkaatskop. The species favors areas with rocky broken terrain and available drinking water. Small family groups are observed browsing in the mornings and afternoons, with few sightings during the midday period.  During the nonbreeding season, batchelor herds of males congregate and are found throughout Silkaatskop.  The male at the right was collected in 2000, with horns exceeding 60 inches.

RedRed Hartebeest
The elongated head with a tall horn curving forward and then backwards in both sexes makes the Hartebeest easily identified. Gregarious herding animals, males are territorial during courtship. Although no longer found
on Chief Kgosi Mmusi Moses Maotoe's tribal lands at Silkaatskop, it would do well if introduced. Large herds presently exist a short distance north at  Pilansberg.  Gregarious herding animals, males are territorial during courtship.

A dark reddish brown antelope with splayed horns on the face make the Tsessebe distinctive. Gregarious and diurnal, they are grazers almost exclusively, and will join large mixed herds with zebra, wildebeest and ostriches.  This species is also presently absent from
Chief Kgosi Mmusi Moses Maotoe's tribal lands at Silkaatskop.

Large, docile, gregarious animals, the Waterbuck is seldom far from water or riparian bush. This species was most often detected at the large reservoir and in riparian habitat associated with the larger water holes. Both sexes of this species have extensive scent glands that emit an unpleasant odor and thus they are generally shunned by large predators, including crocodiles. Waterbuck are readily identified by a white ring of hair around the hind quarters; only the males have horns.

There are two types of Wildebeest: the Black Wildebeest
Wildebeestand the Blue Wildebeest. At Venetia Limpopo and at Chief Kgosi Mmusi Moses Maotoe's tribal lands at Silkaatskop, only the Blue Wildebeest occurs.Massive herds of Wildebeest moving across Africa are legendary, but today in South Africa most are in small herds confined to game farms and nature reserves. This is a favored prey of the Lion, particularly the older males who are excluded from the herd. Wildebeest are grazers, and prefer the morning and later afternoon times to feed.

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