Sable antelope

Hippotragus niger, 1906

About the object

This trophy is part of the museum's extensive trophy collection of over 360 objects. It belonged to Hans Hudemann, an officer in the colonial Schutztruppe ("Protection Force") in German East Africa. The trophy was bequeathed to his widow Constance Hudemann, who then donated it to the museum by way of her stepson, Prof. Dr. Jeschek in 1964.
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Sable antelopes are considered one of the most beautiful of the African antelopes and for this reason they are especially prized by trophy hunters. Juveniles have a uniform light to dark brown colouring. The richly-contrasting face markings of white stripes either side the nose and a white chin form in both sexes as they grow. During puberty, a bull’s coat changes from dark brown to black, whereas cows retain their uniform chestnut to dark brown coat with black and white face markings. Both genders display straight, clearly ringed horns, whereby those of the male are larger and arch further backwards. Sable antelopes are large: typically, males weigh around 235 kg and can reach a height of 140 cm at the shoulder. Females are somewhat smaller and, weighing 220 kg, also lighter. Sable antelopes roam in nature reserves for the most part, but are also bred for commercial purposes. The females and their calves migrate in groups led by a dominant female through grass and scrub savannah in search of food and water. A single breeding male will have a claim over the females in its territory and will fight off intrusive male competition. It is only young males not yet experienced in combat that will form small groups together. Sable antelopes are grazers and browsers. On rare occasions, they may also feed on leafage, bark and fruit. Their diets alone do not provide them with enough hydration, therefore they always remain within a day’s reach of water.

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