- Scientific Name:
- Kobus leche kafuensis
- Park Location:
- Open savannah, wetland
- Kafue Flats Lechwe are happiest standing in up to 50cm depths of water!
- They are excellent swimmers.
- When frightened, lechwe completely submerge leaving only their nostrils exposed.
Kafue Lechwe can only be found in the Kafue Flats area in Zambia, Africa. These lechwe live specifically in swamps and wetlands. Their hooves are long and wide-spreading which enables them to move easily on marshy ground.
The Kafue Lechwe is a medium sized, reddish brown antelope with a white underside. They have distinctive black markings on the face and front legs. Their back legs (hindquarters) are longer than their front legs (forequarters) making it easier to move through the swampy ground.
They stand about 3½ feet (110cm) tall and weigh between 132 - 286 pounds (60-130 kilos). The males have beautiful long horns which are thin and ridged. Lyre shaped, these horns can reach 3 feet (90cm) in length. Lechwe are active during the day and gather in herds which may number into their thousands. The majority of the time the herds are single sex, but during the mating season they mix.
They are semi-aquatic and spend the majority of their time in and around water. After 7-8 months' gestation a single calf is born, normally on the drier land, the majority of the births occurring during the dry season (July-October).
One of the major threats to the Kafue Lechwe population is the building of hydroelectric dams by people. The dams block the water and eliminate the seasonal floodplain habitat that is critical for the lechwe.