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All Creatures,

Episode 105: The Stunning Sable Antelope

July 23, 2019

While not the largest antelope in Africa, the Sable Antelope is one of its most beautiful. Due to its impressive set of horns, its darker coat, and larger size, this animal is impressive all around and a favorite of many tourists.

Sable Antelope History

Sable Antelope belong to the Bovidae family. It was roughly 20 million years ago when bovids first emerged. The earliest boivds were small antelope, about the size of today’s Thompson’s Gazelle. The earliest know relatives of the Sable Antelope existed roughly 5 million years ago.

The scientific name for Sable Antelope is Hippotragus niger. However, there are four subspecies of the Sable Antelope. They are:

  • n. niger (Common or black Sable Antelope)
  • n. kirkii (Zambian or West Tanzania Sable)
  • n. roosevelti (Eastern or Shimba Sable)
  • n. variani (Giant or Royal Sable)

The range of the Sable Antelope includes the countries of Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, and South Africa.

Sable Antelope Physiology

The Sable Antelope is one of the larger antelope species. They can stand up to 56 in (1.2 m) at the shoulder and can weigh up to 600 lbs. (270 kg). From nose to tail they can be 100 in (2.5 m) long. Their impressive horns can be up to 4 ft (1.1 m) in length.

Sable Antelope live on average 16 years in the wild, and up to 19 years under human care. One of their most surprising behaviors is their strength and determination when facing a predator. Predators tend to avoid confronting full grown adult Sable Antelope and have been known to even been killed by this large herbivore.

Sable Antelope vs African Painted Dog Video

Sable Antelope Conservation

The Sable Antelope is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. This is the population as a while with numbers up to 60,000 in the wild. However, the Great or Royal Sable Antelope in Angola is listed as Critically Endangered with 70 to 100 animals left in the world.

Organizations to Support

The Giant Sable Conservation Project

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