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Antelope: Impala

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bwana
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Antelope: Impala

Unread postby bwana » Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:58 pm

Does the KNP carry out a census determining the male to female ratio's of Impala. When we were at Lower Sabie I was very surprised at the number of male impalas. It looked like there were far to many males. I would presume that a male to female ratio should be about 1/6 or even 1/8 but a random count put it close to 1/1. I understand that the males break off into bachelor herds but even taking this into account, the breeding groups seemed to have more males than I would have expected. Can this have an effect on breeding?
Secondly has there ever been a figure worked out as to how many the park can hold. IIRC the current population stands at between 120 000 and 160 000.
Does the park intend on catching and selling some? Impala go for a minimum of R450 -R600 at live game sales. Would they consider game catching as far as the impala go?
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impala

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:04 am

The folowing should make some interesting reading:

A strictly territorial animal when it counts.- only landlords get to reproduce.
Yet the very existence of territoriality in this species was long doubted by some researchers, mainly because of the dry-season attenuation or suspension of territorial behavior, when impalas are often found in mixed herds and a rapid turnover of territorial males during the breeding season.
The root cause of the confusion is the impala's naturally clumped distribution, with bachelor males in proximity to female herds at all seasons.
In fact, male sexual competition is unusually intense in the impala because female impala herds tend to be large, giving owners of good territories many reproductive opportunities.
From 6 to 20 females and young is a minimum average-herds of 50 to 100 are common.
Impala have different social structures depending on the season.
Females live in clans within a home range of 80-180 ha.
During the wet season the ranges are heavily defended, but during the dry season there is much overlap between individuals in the clan and even between different clans.
Impala form distinct social groups during the wet season.
Three main organizations are found: territorial males with and without breeding females, bachelor herds of non-territorial adult and juvenile males and breeding herds of females and juveniles (including young males less than 4 years).
During the dry season, males can be found together or mixed with female herds.
The male impala changes its territory to match the season.
During the breeding season the male keeps a much smaller territory which is heavily defended.
The males will imprint on their original territory and always come back to that same territory to declare dominance.

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wildtuinman
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Kruger Park's motto

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:20 am

Always remember what the Kruger is there for:

To conserve and protect wildlife. Intervention with nature will be kept to an absolute minimum. It is not a game farm. For whatever reason, if needs be, money could be generated from the resources of the Park.

The elephant population was identified as one problem which nature would not be able to retain. Therefore human intervention will be inevitable. Regarding the impala, and I am giving my opinion as a non-scientist and non-researcher, they should be left to mother nature.

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Re: Kruger Park's motto

Unread postby bwana » Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:40 am

I agree with your sentiments.
The impala just seemed to be totally out of sync with regards to male to female ratios.
This has resulted in problems with certain other animals.
This brings me too the original point I was trying to get to.
The breeding is generally done by the dominant male in a breeding herd.
Throughout the rut he has to defend his rights to the females from bachelor herd males.
When there are an unnaturally high population of males the dominant male does very little breeding and a lot of fighting.
Behind his back all the smaller, younger and weaker rams mate with his females.
Surely this can have an adverse effect on the population by introducing weaker genes in the pool.

So all I wanted to know is whether KNP have a monitoring system that encompasses the smaller animals and not just the obvious elephant problem.
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Impala

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Jan 19, 2005 11:44 am

Might just be nature's intention?! By having such a population boom (2000 count estimated about 100,000 animals) as impala seems to have it would be nature's way of bringing it down or keeping it constant.

I am also sure that researchers keeps an eye on all animals, big and small. I've met a research group from overseas in Shingwedzi in Jul 2004 who were researching fruit bats.

Some of the world's best researchers are working in the Kruger. Have you seen the big enclosure for buffalo researching in the Satara region? Also be on the lookout for enclosed research areas between Lower Sabie and Skukuza (at the Nkulu picnic site, if I could remember correctly).

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Unread postby bwana » Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:00 pm

Ya, seen those. There are a couple. The Lichtenstein Hartebeest are in a seperate enclosure around Pretoriuskop if I'm not mistaken. There are a couple of enclosures experimenting with the fauna and the effects of non utilisation as well as testing the effects fires have. I wonder if these are going to published or where we can read more about them. No doubt Kruger has some very intelligent people working for them. Where do I sign up? :twisted:
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Re: Impala's Male to Female Ratio

Unread postby wanda » Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:27 am

Hi bwana,

I am finally getting back to you regarding this.
My research this time took far too long.
My apologies for that.
Seems I have been concentrating far too much on the elephants. Let this be a lesson.
I am sure that, however, you have received quite a lot of valuable information from our stock of knowledgeable forum members but I will attempt to answer you as well.

Yes SANParks does carry out a census of the Impala but a lot depends on the time of the year of the observations.
Impala are seasonal breeders and the rams hold territories in the mating season (March to May).
During the mating season the territorial males actively keep other males out of their territories and away from the female groups.
The younger, so-called bachelor, males form groups that are segregated from the females by the efforts of the territorial males, as you indicated.
At that time the male to female ratio in breeding groups will be markedly skewed towards females.
Out of the breeding season the males may show some tendency towards territoriality but are much less strict about it so one sees more mixing between males and females.
The sex ratio of most mammals is one to one at birth, so unless there is sexual differentiation in mortality it is quite normal for the overall population to have a one to one sex ratio.

KNP is managed as far as possible to allow its populations to fluctuate in accordance with natural dynamics, provided that this is compatible with the maintenance of biodiversity.
The elephant is the only species for which there is reason to doubt that the "hands-off" management will be compatible with the maintenance of biodiversity in the KNP.
Other species such as impala are not managed in any way, and are allowed to fluctuate naturally under the influence of rainfall, predation and other environmental factors.
We therefore don't consider limiting them by capturing and selling them.

Hope this answers the question.
wanda mkutshulwa
Head of Communications
South African National Parks (SANParks)

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Unread postby bwana » Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:32 pm

They are pretty animals! I love their markings, especially the little black tuft of hair on their ankles. I love watching a big herd, the males when they grunt and chase the poor ladies around the place.
I just realised I dont have a single pic of an impala on my flickr page. I'll need to remedy that.
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Unread postby Toddelelfe » Tue Jul 26, 2005 3:23 pm

I like them too.
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Unread postby Jock » Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:26 pm

I also love seeing impala, especially the little babies. They are so cute.

Our family has nicknamed them "Speed Cop" because they always stand on the side of the raod and watch you as you drive by, just making sure you are not speeding.
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Unread postby kwenga » Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:42 pm

....aaaand action!
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Last edited by Elsa on Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: pic resized.

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Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:47 pm

In the mating season these angelic little creatures can sound more fiercesome than any predator. Forget cute :roll: These guys can put anyone away as Don Juan lovers :redface: Their stamina is amazing :wink:
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Unread postby Loams » Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:14 pm

And their roaring rules!!!
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Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:27 pm

Never measure stamina by size. There is a reason why Impies are the most predominant mammal in the park. The male impie earns his right to be "king" in terms of sheer numbers. The lion has nothing on this little guy. And he only eats greens.
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Unread postby bushguy » Wed Aug 17, 2005 9:39 pm

In the mating season these angelic little creatures can sound more fiercesome than any predator.


It reminds me of my fist patrol in the park during my army days. We were stelthily creeping through the bush, convinced we were about to ambush some nasty people when a rutting impala shot out of the bush hotly pursued by aother grunting and "roaring". We just about s..t ourselves! It took a while to get used to!

It was even worse later in the rutting season when the grunting became sporadic as we were not expecting it.

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Der boids is on der wing,
Ain't dat absoid?
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