Name: Black Wildebeest
Scientific Name: Connochaetes Gnou
Black wildebeest are dark brown to black in color, males being darker in color than females. Both sexes become lighter in coat color in the summer, and develop shaggier coats in the winter. Like common wildebeest, C. gnou possesses a bushy beard and mane. However, C. gnou has a mane that stands up from its neck, rather than draping across the neck, like that of C. taurinus. This bristly mane is cream to white in color and black at the tips. The beard is black in color and stretches only along the lower jaw, not the length of the neck, as in C. taurinus. Additionally, black wildebeest have an area of longer, dark hair between the forelegs, covering the chest, and another patch of bristly black hair along the bridge of the nose. Paired horns curve down, forward, and then up, like hooks, and are up to 78 cm in length (slightly thinner and shorter in females). The base of the horns is widened and flattened to form a protective shield. These differ from C. taurinus in that they project anteriorly, rather than laterally. Scent glands are present preorbitally, under the hair tuft, and on the forefeet. Black Wildebeest have a dark brown to black body, an erect mane and a long whitish tail. Both sexes have heavy, forward curving horns.
Connochaetes gnou lived in grasslands similar to the habitat of the common wildebeest, Connochaetes taurinus, when it ranged free. However, with its thicker, darker coat, black wildebeest are able to range farther south than the Orange River, past the edge of the acacia savannah, into colder climates. They rarely seek shade, and need little winter shelter. Its preferred habitat types are grassveld savanna and Karoo of the central South Africa plateau. Their preferred habitat is open grassveld, and it actively avoids areas with tall grass and dense vegetation.
Originally, black wildebeest, or white-tailed gnus, ranged the highveld temperate grasslands during the dry winter and the arid karroo during the rains. However, due to hide-hunting in the 19th century, they were reduced to living on protected game farms.
Average Shoulder Height: 119 cm (47″)’
Average Mass: 165 kg’
Black wildebeest can live for 20 years.