The Wildebeest (wild beast) was named by the Dutch, but they are also referred to as Gnus (pronounced “new”). The term “Gnu” refers to the animal’s call which has a gnuu gnuu sound. Wildebeest are part of the antelope family and not bovine like its looks would like you to believe.
The blue wildebeest is much more common in South Africa unlike its cousin, the black wildebeest. Apart from the main difference in colour, the black wildebeest has forward facing horns as opposed to the blue wildebeest’s horns which curve sideways. Speaking about horns: did you know that both males and females grow horns? A mature male’s horns will be larger and thicker than those of a female.
Wildebeest are herbivores and are active during the day as well as the night. They can weigh anything between 150kg and 270kg. Although they can reach speeds of up to 60km/hour they are unfortunately not faster than predators like lions, cheetahs, and hyenas. It is for this reason that they always move in herds. Zebra and gazelle can often be spotted travelling with wildebeest herds because they too know that there’s safety in numbers.
Wildebeest have a lifespan of about 20 years in the wild and they are one of the few African antelope species to increase their numbers over the last couple of years. It is believed that the current population is more than 1,3 million.
Although the blue wildebeest might not win a beauty contest anytime soon, they play an important role in the African ecosystem.
We have more than 20 blue wildebeest roaming freely at Likweti Bushveld Farm Estate and we are looking forward to welcoming the new baby calves in March / April this year.