Animal of the Week: Lechwe
Lechwe (Kobus leche)
Great place to see the lechwe: Botswana, Africa:
Inhabiting the floodplains bordering swamps and marshes of Botswana, Zambia, Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo, the lechwe ranks second among the most aquatic African antelopes. It is known to form ‘leks’, or breeding arenas, with a high population density.
The white hue on a lechwe’s belly gradually turns into a gentle golden-brown on its body, like a bright afternoon morphing into a golden evening, and the furry coat is greasy and water-repellent. This medium-sized antelope has a sturdy, handsome body, with its hindquarters noticeably higher than its forequarters. Because it has to run for cover in marshy areas if a predator appears, its hooves are aptly designed to suit its wet and soggy habitat, with a distinct elongation. The male lechwe has an almost lyre-shaped pair of ridged horns. It enters water to feed on various aquatic grasses – an area less used by any other herbivore for grazing – and as floodwaters recede, it feeds on the grasses that spring up as an aftermath.
This adorable antelope, lechwe, uses knee-deep water as protection from predators; with its legs covered in a water-repellant substance which allows it to run quite fast in knee-deep water, and is hence our Animal of the Week!