W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
Often, when travelling on the Sterkfontein road on our way to Lanseria Airport (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa), these Black Wildebeest cross the road, bringing all the traffic to a halt and resulting in everybody hauling out their cameras and binoculars. I always leave early for the airport, never know what you might spot on the road!
Black Wildebeest, also known as the White Tailed GNU, are endemic to South Africa, found almost exclusively in the Highveld areas of the country in South Africa. It is a very strange and comical looking specie with its black body, erect mane, long whitish tail, forward curving horns and facial crest. They were on the verge of extinction in the 1960’s, but are plentiful today as a result of careful conservation management. They are often found in herds of females and young males, with the older males either being solitary or forming small bachelor herds.
Done from a photograph I found on the website of Maclaren.co.za
G stands for Gnu, whose weapon of defence
Are long, sharp, curling horns, and common sense.
To these he adds a name so short and strong,
That even hardy Boers pronounce it wrong.
How often on a bright autumnal day
The pious people of Pretoria say,
‘Come, let us hunt the______’ Then no more is heard
but sounds of strong men struggling with a word;
Meanwhile the distant Gnu with grateful eyes
Observes his opportunity and flies.