SITATUNGA ; ANTELOPES OF UGANDA – UGANDA SAFARI NEWS
Also referred to as Tragelaphus spekii, the Sitatunga antelope is a swamp dwelling antelope thriving in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa including; Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania, Gabon, Kenya and Uganda where it is explored on Uganda safari tours.
Initially described by John Speke in the year 1863, the Sitatunga stands as a medium sized antelope with males rising to 81 -116cm at the shoulder height while females reach 72 – 90cm. Male Sitatunga weighs 76 – 119kg while females weigh 24 – 57kg. Sitatungas feature hairy bodies with water resistant coat that varies in color. The feet and body are designed specially for its swamp habitat adaptation. The spiral horns are present only in males as often encountered on wildlife safaris in Uganda extending from 45 – 92cm in length.
This species of antelope tend to be more active during the early morning and late in the evening and at night. Sitatunga are not territorial species and are notably selective in what they eat as they mainly feed on fresh grasses, new foliage, aquatic plants and browse.
The female Sitatunga attain sexual maturity at the age of one year while for males, it takes one and a half years. The breeding among these antelopes takes place all the year-round though it is always at its peak during the dry season. The gestation period lasts for close to eight (9) months after which a single calf is produced. Caring occurs for approximately six (6) months and the life span of Sitatunga is about 22 – 23 years in captivity.
Sitatunga thrives in marshy and swampy habitats as viewed on Uganda tours. The habitats include seasonal swamps, riparian thickets, marshy clearings inside forests and mangrove swamps.
The Sitatunga antelope’s survival is threatened by habitat loss. However, it is listed as species of Least Concern on the red list International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Travelers on Safaris to Uganda interested in antelope can consider visiting Bigodi wetland sanctuary near Kibale National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park among others.