Roan Antelope

Hippotragus equinus

Standing 1.5m high and weighing up to 300kg, the Roan Antelope is one of the biggest antelope occurring in South Africa. Their black-and-white face masks and curiously long ears make them easily recognisable.

Roan Antelope are grazers, occurring in lightly wooded savannas and preferring areas with long grass and easy access to drinking water.

Breeding herds, usually numbering between 2 and 15 animals, consist of a dominant bull, cows and calves that occupy a specific home range of up to 200km² (the size of which depends on the availability of quality grazing and water sources) for generations. While they are not strictly territorial, the lead bull will not tolerate other bulls coming closer than 300 – 500m from his harem.

Single calves are born at any time of the year, though mostly in spring and summer, and remain hidden for the first 2 – 6 weeks after birth with the mother returning to it twice daily for nursing. Calves form “creches” once they are introduced to the herd, rather than constantly sticking to their mothers’ side. The curved horns of the adults are formidable weapons, and even lions are wary of attacking them, though calves are easy prey as they’ll try to remain hidden and will seldom attempt to flee when threatened by a predator, explaining in part why up to 40% of calves die before reaching 5 months of age. Roan Antelope have a natural life expectancy of up to 19 years in the wild.

In Africa as a whole, the roan population is estimated at around 76,000 by the IUCN, with an overall decreasing trend due to poaching and habitat loss. In South Africa they are a rare species, numbering perhaps 1,500 in total, with small populations to be found in the Kruger, Marakele and Mokala National Parks, a few provincial nature reserves and on some private properties.


43 thoughts on “Roan Antelope

      1. aj vosse

        Maar jy kuier lekkered as ek! EN! Jy eet biltong!! En braai in die sonskyn… en van vis in die Olifants Revier… en hardloop weg van al die plathonde in St Lucia… en, en… en… nou wil ek huil! 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Pat

    I’ve always thought antelope ears were rather interesting, but these are the most remarkable! I like the way they droop down at the tip. As if they’d grown so long it wasn’t supported any more. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joanne Sisco

    I too love the first photo with the face peeking out of the bushes. Those are the kind of photos that are just a treasure to catch because they can’t be planned – they just happen.
    I like the little guys with the immature horns 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thank you very much, Janet! We thought it was rather funny that such a big guy was so shy of the camera yet so curious that he kept peeping through openings in the bush to make sure we were still there!

      Liked by 4 people


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