Black wildebeest

Connochaetes gnou

wildebeast min
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Mammals
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae

You can find our herd of black wildebeest over in the African Savannah, along with our Chapman’s zebra and nyala.

Native to southern Africa, black wildebeest inhabit open plains, grasslands and Karoo shrublands in steep and mountainous regions.

They are herbivores and predominantly graze on short grasses, however they will also feed on other herbs and shrubs, especially when grass is scarce.

Interesting facts!

  • They are very sociable animals which live in herds of around 60 individuals. These large herds are comprised of groups of related females and their young offspring, bachelor herds of young males and dominant bulls who establish territory in the foraging grounds, guarding females moving through his range.
  • They can run up to 50mph when running from one of their predators, such as lions or hyenas.
  • Each year more than 1.5 million wildebeest migrate from Tanzania’s Serengeti to the south of Kenya’s Masai Mara in search of lush living grounds and water. They will form ‘super herds’ with other species including zebra, elephants, antelope and gazelles to make the journey of almost 3000km.

Conservation

Back in the 19th century, black wildebeest were almost extinct due to their reputation of being pests and through hunting. Now they are protected in game reserves in their native southern Africa, and zoos worldwide have contributed towards the population.

However, they do still face the threat of hybridisation with the blue wildebeest, which can happen when the two species live on the same fenced land.