|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|The next two weeks will be devoted to African Antilopes.|
Species: Aepyceros melampus
Aepyceros melampus petersi
Aepyceros melampus melampus
An impala is a medium-sized African antelope. The name impala comes from the Zulu language meaning "gazelle". They are found in savannas and thick bushveld in Kenya, Tanzania, Swaziland, Mozambique, northern Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, southern Angola, northeastern South Africa and Uganda. Impalas can be found in numbers of up to 2 million in Africa.
Impala range between 73 and 92 cm (29 and 36 in) tall. Average mass for a male impala is 46 to 76 kg (100 to 170 lb), while females weigh about 35 to 50 kg (77 to 110 lb). They are normally reddish-brown in color (hence the Afrikaans name of "Rooibok"), have lighter flanks and white underbellies with a characteristic "M" marking on the rear. Males, referred to as rams, have lyre-shaped horns, which can reach up to 90 centimeters in length. Females, referred to as ewes, have no horns. The black impala, found in very few places in Africa, is an extremely rare type. A recessive gene causes the black colouration in these animals.
Impalas are an ecotone species living in light woodland with little undergrowth and grassland of low to medium height. They have an irregular distribution due to dependence on free water, soils with good drainage with firm footing and moderate or less slope. While they are usually close to water in the dry season, they can go weeks without drinking when they have access to green vegetation.
Impalas are adaptable foragers. They usually switch between grazing and browsing depending on the season. During wet seasons when grasses are green and growing they graze. During dry seasons it browses foliage, shoots, forbs and seeds. It can also adapt to different habitats by being a grazer in one habitat a browser in another. Leopards, cheetahs, lions and wild dogs prey on impala.
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