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Survival in the African Bush

Maree Clarkson

Tarlton, South Africa

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Artist's Description

W&N watercolour on X-pressit 300gsm
New-born Impala calf (Aepyceros Melampus) hiding in the grass in the African Bushveld.
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The antelope (Alcelaphinae) is one of the many medium-sized mammals holding the African food chain together. Unlike deer that renew their horns annually, the antelope has strong permanent horns, that antelope mainly use to defend their herd or to fight other antelopes. Usually all species of the Alcelaphinae, Antilopinae, Hippotraginae, Reduncinae, Cephalophinae, many Bovinae, the grey rhebok, and the impala are called antelopes.

After mating, female antelopes give birth to a single calf or, more rarely, twins, after a gestation period that can last up to eight months. A mother and her newborn calf are vulnerable to predators, and antelopes have had to evolve different strategies for surviving this period. For most antelope species, the female gives birth in dense cover and leaves the calf while she feeds. The calf comes to its mother when she calls it, and once fed, the calf will hide away again. Once in its hiding place, the calf remains completely still, blending into the surrounding landscape becoming almost invisible. It will run away only if it is on the verge of being discovered.

Did you know that small antelope, such as dik-diks, tend to be monogamous? They live in a forest environment with patchy resources, and a male is unable to monopolize more than one female due to this sparse distribution. Larger forest species often form very small herds of 2–4 females and 1 male.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
- Charles Darwin


5th May 2013 – FEATURED in “Everyday Women”
15th January 2014 – FEATURED by RedBubble in “EXPLORE”
15th October 2015 – FEATURED in “Country Bumpkin”
2nd December 2015 – FEATURED in “Amazing Wildlife Mammals”

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