Giant Sable Antelope

The Giant Sable Antelope, Hippotragus niger variani, is a rare subspecies of Sable Antelope native and endemic to the region between Cuango and Luando Rivers in Angola. They live in forests near the water, where leaves and tree sprouts are always juicy and abundant. It is an endangered species, so it is protected in natural parks, and hunting it is, therefore, forbidden.

Both sexes have horns, which can reach 59 inches. Males and females are strikingly similar in appearance until they reach three years of age when the males become darker and develop majestic horns. Coloration in bulls is black while females and young are chestnut, except in southern populations where females turn brown-black. Most sable antelopes have white eyebrows, a rostrum sectioned into cheek stripes, white belly and rump patch. Young under two months typically are light brown and have slight markings. Males weigh an average of 525 pounds and stand to 56 inches at the shoulder. Females are generally smaller.

Like all antelopes they are shy by nature, but they can also be very aggressive. The males can be especially dangerous when hurt, attacked, or approached. In the fights, males avoid some serious injuries by kneeling down on their front legs, and engage in horn wrestling fights. Fatalities from these fights are rare. Typically, sable antelopes are specialized grazers feeding on foliage and herbs, especially those growing on termite mounds.