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Red Lechwe Running Across The Floodplain, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Red Lechwe Running Across The Floodplain, Okavango Delta, Botswana (Animals)

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Tags: antelope (4 pics)

The Lechwe, or Southern Lechwe, (Kobus leche) is an antelope found in Botswana, Zambia, south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, north-eastern Namibia, and eastern Angola, especially in the Okavango Delta, Kafue Flats and Bangweulu Swamps.

Lechwe stand 90 to 100 centimetres at the shoulder and weigh from 70 to 120 kilograms. They are golden brown with a white belly. Males are darker in colour, but general hue varies depending on subspecies. The long spiral structured horns are vaguely lyre-shaped, they are found only in males. The hind legs are somewhat longer in proportion than in other antelopes, to ease long-distance running in marshy soil.

Lechwe are found in marshy areas where they eat aquatic plants. They use the knee-deep water as protection from predators. Their legs are covered in a water repelling substance allowing them to run quite fast in knee-deep water.

Lechwe are diurnal. They gather in herds which can include many thousands of individuals. Herds are usually all of one sex but during mating season they mix.

Subspecies

Traditionally, four subspecies of the Lechwe have been recognized. Additionally, the Upemba Lechwe, which only was described in 2005 (13 years ago), is treated as a subspecies of the Lechwe by some authorities.

Red Lechwe or Zambesi Lechwe (Kobus l. leche) - most of range. Overall tawny-fawn with black to front of front legs.
Kafue Lechwe or Brown Lechwe (Kobus leche kafuensis) - Kafue Flats. As previous, but front legs almost entirely black. Vulnerable.
Roberts' Lechwe or Kawambwa Lechwe (Kobus leche robertsi) - formerly near Kawambwa. Extinct.
Black Lechwe or Bangweulu Lechwe (Kobus leche smithemani) - Bangweulu Swamps. Adult male blackish. Vulnerable.


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