Black Wildebeest.. a Proud Dancer.

Black wildebeest or white-tailed gnu (Connochaetes gnou)

A year ago, last Thursday I was strolling in the zoo
when I met a man who though he knew the lot.
He was laying down the law about the habits of Baboons
And how many quills a porcupine has got.
So I asked him: ‘What’s that creature there?’
He answered: ‘Oh, H’it’s a H’elk’
I might of gone on thinking that was true,
If the animal in question hadn’t put that chap to shame
And remarked: ‘I h’aint a H’elk. I’m a Gnu!’

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‘I’m a Gnu, I’m a Gnu
The g-nicest work of g-nature in the zoo
I’m a Gnu, How do you do
You really ought to k-now w-ho’s w-ho’s

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I’m a Gnu, Spelt G-N-U
I’m g-not a Camel or a Kangaroo
So let me introduce,
I’m g-neither man nor moose
Oh g-no g-no g-no I’m a Gnu’

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THE GNU SONG (Michael Flanders / Donald Swann) Flanders & Swann – 1960

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Black Wildebeest

Black wildebeest or white-tailed gnu (Connochaetes gnou)

The natural populations of this species, endemic to the southern part of Africa, have been almost completely exterminated, but the species has been reintroduced widely, both in private areas and nature reserves throughout most of South Africa.

The primal herds have been exterminated, seen as pests, with the advantage of using the hides and meat. So, this animal exists in herds derived from captive specimens.

Its prefers the grass veld savannah in the Karoo, of the central South Africa plateau.

Black Wildebeest have a dark brown to black body, an erect mane and a long whitish tail. Both sexes have heavy, forward curving horns. Bulls measure 1.2 metres at the shoulder and weigh 161 Kg. Cows measure 1.16 metres at the shoulder and weigh 130 Kg. The horns of calves are initially straight, and start to grow the characteristic curvature at approximately nine months of age.

This herd is in the Rietvlei Dam reserve, a big herd breeding well but very shy. Most of the photos are at the very end of my Zoom and slightly blurred. Magnificent animals with the most unusual manes, chest hairs, beards and these long beautiful tails almost a blonde colour…

 

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You can see the maturity of this magnificent bull by looking at the full curvature of his horns…

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One can see by the younger animal on the right how the horns slowly grow to the fuller shape…

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