Sable Antelope have a robust build, with a mane on their neck and throat. Males are typically one-fifth taller and 15 kg larger than females. Males are also darker chestnut to black, whereas females are chestnut to dark brown.
LATIN NAME: Hippotragus niger
STATUS: Least Concern (LC)
MATURE POPULATION: 50,000 – 60,000
HEIGHT: 117-140 cm
WEIGHT: 220 – 235kg
LIFESPAN: 16 years
CURRENT GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE:
Sable Antelope have been eliminated from large areas of their historic range in the savanna woodlands of southern and eastern Africa. This is largely due to hunting and habitat loss from human expansion and land conversion. The greatest reduction in populations have occurred in Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.
Populations of Sable Antelope are estimated using aerial surveys, meaning there is a degree of undercounting bias. The largest populations are reported in Zimbabwe, with approximately 19,690 individuals. In protected areas, populations are typically stable, whereas on private land populations are increasing.
Stable Antelope occupy savanna woodlands. The species is referred to as an edge species, as they differ between woodland and grassland ecosystems. During the rainy season Sable Antelope spend their time in open woods, moving onto grasslands in search of green grass during the dry season. Grass makes up the majority of their diet, although they are both grazers and browsers.
Sable Antelope play a crucial role in their ecosystems by maintaining vegetation. As they are browsers and grazers, they help to maintain healthy ecosystems by consuming older vegetation and allowing new plants to form. Sable Antelope also play an integral role in the food chain for many African carnivores, namely lions, thereby regulating other species populations.
Sable Antelope face many anthropogenic threats. The species has historically been subject to poaching and hunting for trophies and the bush meat trade, which has significantly reduced populations. Human population expansion and land conversion also threatens to further reduce and fragment Sable Antelopes’ habitats, leading to reduced populations.
A former stronghold of Sable Antelope in Botswana has been impacted by the construction of the Northern Buffalo Fence. This restricted their access to freshwater, causing significant mortality rates.
Although Saving The Survivors (STS) is best known for the emergency work performed on Rhinos, due to the countless poaching incidents, we will also assist any animal in need we are called upon to help.
Similarly, our emergency care work with apex predators including Lions also assists prey species including the Sable Antelope. By rescuing and rehabilitating apex predators, this ensures the conservation of these species. This in turn ensures healthy populations of prey species due to predators hunting the oldest, weakest and sickest members of groups. Similarly, this prevents herbivores such as the Sable Antelope from over consuming food sources, helping to maintain a balanced ecosystem.