Impala (Aepyceros melampus)
Male Impala roaring at sunset.
The name Impala comes from the Zulu language and apparently means "gazelle".
The Impala is a herbivore that can grow to a size of 84 to 100 cm and a weight of 40 to 75 kg.
Impalas are fleet runners and can leap distances of up to 10 meters to escape predators and at times just for fun. An Impala can also high jump 3 meters and therefore jumps over just about any obstacles.
The females form herds of 10 to 50 or more and wander in and out of male territories. If they start to leave the territory, the male tries to herd them back to the center, or he feigns danger just beyond his boundary by taking a stance normally used as a warning sign. Bachelor males are allowed to remain in male territories if they ignore the females.
The territorial male's challenger will have worked his way up through the hierarchy of the bachelor group until he becomes the dominant male. He then leaves the group and challenges a territorial male through horn duels, in which the males approach one another with slow, deliberate steps. At a signal, such as swiveling the eyeballs to show the whites or slightly nodding the head, they rush forward and clash horns, attempting to throw one another off balance. Although fighting can be fatal, males are protected by exceptionally thick skin over vulnerable areas. It is not the length of horn that gives a male the advantage but his condition and weight. When a territorial male begins to lose weight from his frantic activity, he is defeated and must return to the bachelor group to recuperate.