Sassaby / Tsessebe

The nominate race of tsessebe is found from Zambia to northern South Africa. It is probably conspecific with D. korrigum, known as the tiang or topi, which is found elsewhere in its range.

Together, sassabys and topis are the most numerous of all antelope in Africa. In shape they are similar to the true haartebeests, but neither the slope of the back nor the length of the head are so exaggerated. Coloration and horns vary from race to race and between sexes. Females are usually paler than males. Tsessebes are active early and late in the day, when they feed on grass and herbage and also drink. They are able, however, to go without water for as long as 30 days.

Tsessebes are not as gregarious as the haartebeests and generally move in small parties of 8 to 10 individuals, which may join up to form herds of up to 200 animals in the dry season. The mature male is highly territorial and marks his central stamping ground with dung and with scent, by rubbing his face and neck on bushes, grass stems and the ground. He watches over his territory and his harem and defends them from rivals and predators.

The female produces a single calf after a gestation period of 772 to 8 months.

Range: Africa, south of the Sahara, east to Ethiopia, Somalia.

Habitat: Open plains, flood plains, grassland with scattered bush.

Size: Body: 5 - 6 1/2 ft (1.5 - 2 m); Tail: 15 3/4 - 23 1/2 in (40 - 60 cm).