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NEXT UP: 6th seed Impala (Aepyceros melampus) vs 11th seed Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) #2019MMM
Our first battler is the impala, or as Dick Estes, author of the Behavior Guide to African Mammals calls them “the perfect antelope.” #2019MMM h
Let’s explore why these antelope are so perfect. For one, they are gorgeous (SEE PICS). For two , they are about ~130 lb (60 kg), so they provide a perfect meal for a cheetah, leopard, wild dog, or even a lion. #2019MMM#Foreshadowing? ht
However, impala have some tricks to escape predators. They can jump up to 3 m high & 11 m long. They even have a unique type of jump called the rocking high jump (check out the first 10 secs of video) #2019MMM
Klipspringer are smaller (~30 lbs), and and their name means "rock jumper" in Afrikaans. With hooves that give them extra grip, the klipspringer has a chance to elude leopards who stalk them in their rocky outcroppings #2019MMM h
But having grippy hooves and a springy gait doesn't help you much off of rocks, so klipspringer are very cautious about venturing away from the safety of the rocky outcrops and onto the dangerous flats (Estes 1991) #2019MMM
Our battle today takes place in the woodlands of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The impala has set up his territory on a burn that has just greened up in a recent rain, in hopes females will come and feed on it. #2019MMM h
Nearby a klipspringer looks out over the burn from his rocky promentory. There is no green flush on his outcropping, and he is hungry. Leaving his mate, he tiptoes down the rock, and carefully over to the burn where the impala is. #2019MMM
The klipspringer stares at the impala. He stares at the nearby trees, he stares into the distance. He would be a nice tasty snack for any passing carnivore, and tasty snacks have to be vigilant. #2019MMM
Not seeing or hearing anything dangerous, the klipspringer puts his head down and nibbles on grass. Every few seconds he looks up and scans for danger. He can’t be vigilant and feed at the same time so he is vulnerable to attack. #2019MMM
The klipspringer jumps straight up in fear. Landing, he sees not a predator but the impala locking horns with a rival. As they clatter and push against each other, the klipspringer thinks he'd really feel safer back in the rocks #2019MMM h
Beating a hasty retreat, the klipspringer bounds his way back up to the top of the rocky outcropping and reunites with his mate. #2019MMM h
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