This little creature is a newborn sable antelope and is the latest addition to Abelana Game Reserve, having come into the world in the last few days, right at the end of the calving season. It’s hard to believe that this unassuming, tiny brown antelope is going to grow into one of the most striking animals in the African wilderness!
Characterised by its glossy black coat with white underparts and distinctive white facial markings, an adult sable bull is something to behold. Cows are smaller and brown in colour, like this little baby, who will be hidden in tall grass for his first few weeks until it is strong enough to keep up with mum and the rest of the family.
Calves are born after a gestation period of around 270 days and weigh about 17kg at birth. They start to eat grass relatively quickly and are fully weaned by the age of eight months. Their light tan colour fades to a darker brown after approximately two months, which is also when their horns begin to grow.
Both bulls and cows have the impressively backward curved horns which can reach up to 1m in length in cows and up to 1,65m long in bulls and which make Sable formidable as a prey species even to Lions. Both sexes have a stiff, black mane along the ridge of their necks. The eat mostly grasses and some sedges found around water sources. Sable are very gregarious and usually gather in small herds of varying sizes, although it’s not uncommon in calving season to find pregnant cows and those with newborns separate from their herds.