IMPALA FACT FILE

by Wildlife South Africa


IMPALA FACT FILE
Latin Name: Aepyceros melampus
Afrikaans: Rooibok / Impala
 
Distribution in South Africa
 
Impala occur throughout South Africa however historically they were found mainly in the northern, northeastern and eastern parts of the country. They occur in large numbers in the Kruger National Park. Impala are also found in other parks and reserves and also on Game Farms and Private reserves throughout certain areas of South Africa. In many of these areas they have been reintroduced for game farming and breeding.
 
Habitat
 
Impala prefer savannah woodland and Acacia thornveld, preferably near water.
 

 
Habits
 
They are gregarious and form herds ranging from 6 to 50 or more, depending on the time of year. During the winter mating time (March to May) one territorial ram gathers a herd of up to 50 and even more ewes (called harem) and defends and protects them from other rams. Fights often occur and at times some rams can be seriously injured and often killed. During these rutting and mating times, rams can be heard day and night uttering loud snorts and grunts. Sometimes their noises can frighten the first time visitor to the bush if they are not familiar with the sounds. Away from the breeding herds, other rams form bachelor groups consisting of juvenile, young and older rams.
 
Day or night
 
Although mainly active during the day they can be active during periods of feeding at night.
 
Difference between male (ram) and female (ewe)
 
Rams are bigger than ewes and have horns while ewes do not grow horns.
 
Mass
 
Male: 47 to 68 kg (Average about 54 kg.).
Female: 32 to 52 kg. (Average about 41 kg.).
 
Breeding
 
After mating in April to July (differs from area to area and sometimes from season to season), usually a single lamb is born (on occasion twins may be born) in October to February. Lambs are kept together in crèches where a few impala ewes keep watch over the young.
 

 
Gestation period
 
6 and a half months or 190 to 200 days.
 
Lifespan
 
Up to about 12 years
 
Diet / food and water
 
Impala are browsers (pods, seeds and leaves of certain tree species) and grazers (especially sweet grass species) and are water dependent, preferring Acacia bushveld.
 
Enemies
 
Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena, African Wild Dog, Caracal, Serval, Jackal, Python, Crocodile, Humans.
 
Status
 
Still occur in large numbers throughout their natural areas. Also plentiful on Game Farms and in protected reserves and some National Parks.
 
Interesting facts
 
Impala can jump about 3 meters high and farther than 12 meters. They are often found in the company of animals such as Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Giraffe and Baboons amongst others.
 
Impalas are the most popular antelope species hunted by local hunters in South Africa for their meat, which is then cut into pieces, salted, spiced and dried (biltong).