If you have enjoyed a safari at Kariega Game Reserve during December or January then you are likely to experienced warm sunny days and great sightings of baby antelope. This is because antelope, including impala, blue wildebeest and blesbok, give birth during the summer season each year. Some safari guests have been fortunate to watch the birth of these antelope.
Many open-plain antelope species, including impala and blesbok, mate in March and April each year. This means that they will start to give birth in early December. This year the Eastern Cape is experiencing a drought which means the food supply for antelope is not as good as usual. The female antelope are able to extend their pregnancies to try to wait for rain to improve the grass. The lambing season thus started later than usual this season. The first calves were only born towards the end of December 2017.
Antelope are Synchronized Breeders
Antelope usually mate at the same time of year which means they also give birth at at the same time. This is a good survival tactic as predators are unable to pick off all the baby antelope. This is nature's way of making sure the antelope populations increase every year.
Interesting Facts about Antelope Baby Season
- When an animal gives birth there are a lot of protein pieces left in the afterbirth. Animals including mongeese, jackals and hyenas and birds, such as buzzards and crows, are on the lookout for this and swoop in to make a meal of it. This efficient clean-up crew decreases the risk of disease for the antelope by taking the unwanted afterbirth away.
- There are some animals and birds that could make a meal out of a newborn baby antelope of any kind. These animals include baboons, jackals and even birds of prey such a the crowned eagle. The crowned eagle is so strong that they can lift a small adult antelope.
- When the little antelope are born, the mothers and other individuals in the herd, nudge the calf to help it to get up. This helps the calf to quickly use its muscles and find its balance in order to escape possible predators.