Jackson hartebeest is an African antelope, there about eight subspecies which have been described. These two sometimes are considered independent. Antelopes can stand for over 1m at their shoulders; it has a typical head and body length of 200 to 250 cm. The weight ranges from 100 to 200kg.
Jackson hartebeest has elongated forehead and oddly shaped horns, pointed ears, short neck. The legs have black marking, which are unusually long. Its body coat is generally short and shiny. The colour of the coat always varies by the subspecies, from sandy brown of western hartebeest to the chocolate Brown of Swayne’s hartebeest. The horns reach a length of 45-70 cm. apart from the long face, chest is sharply sloping back differentiate from other antelopes.
A group of hartebeest is called a herd it has 20 to 300 members. The members are non –aggressive and very alert. They graze mainly on grasses as their main diet .Hartebeest takes place throughout the year with two different peaks depending on sub species and local factors.
Males and females reach their sexual maturity at one to two years of age.
The gestation period takes place from eight to nine months long, after a single calf will be born. They give birth in the dry season and a lifespan is about 12 to 15 years.
They inhabit in the dry savannas and wooded grasslands, they move in arid places after the rainfall. Their altitude is reported to be up to 4,000 m.
Jackson hartebeest is widely spread in Africa; they decline due to habitat destruction, human settlement, hunting, competing for food with livestock. They have different features these include long legs with many black markings, pointed ears, short neck. The western hartebeest is a very large species with characteristics white line between the eyes.
Hartebeest have short and shiny coat in colours that are according to subspecies. The western hartebeest is pale sandy brown, although the front legs are darker. There is a red hartebeest which is reddish brown, with a dark face. The black markings can be observed around the chin, legs, hips, shoulders and the back of the neck, there very sharp with broad white patches that mark lower rump. The other species of antelope the Swayne hartebeest has a rich chocolate brown with fine spots of white tips of its hairs. They have horns with females being slender.
During day time, hartebeest graze in the early morning and late afternoon, they later on rest around noon time. The herds can be divided into four groups, the adult males, young males, non-territorial adult males, and females with their young ones. The females form a group of five to 12 animals, with other four generations of young ones in the group.
Females tend to fight over the leadership of the herd, to spar between the females and males in common. The three or four years of age, this tends to take over a territory and members. Males will defend their territory, they will fight incase their provoked. Males will mark their territories through defecation.
Hartebeest are alerted with highly developed brains. Their generally ferocious and calm in nature.
While the Hartebeest stay on the lookout for danger, during the time for danger, the group (herd) flees in a single life suddenly then it starts off. Some of the predators of hartebeest include leopards, hyenas, lions and wild dogs, cheetahs and jackals that meanly target young ones. Hartebeests can as well be preyed on by crocodiles. The thin long legs of hartebeest are able to provide a quick escape in an open habitat.
The eyes enable the hartebeest to inspect the surroundings continuously well its grazing .the horns of the hartebeest are used for fighting among the male dominance during breeding season, when their clashing the horns will make loud noise which can be heard from hundreds meters away. As they start fighting their fights is marked with series of head movements as they deposit their dungs.
The dung drop onto their knees, after they give hammer-like blow, interlocking of horns, they wrestle .they fling their heads of one side to another side as they stab the neck and shoulders with the horns. The fights are rarely serious as they cannot cause fatal accidents.
Hartebeest produce grunting sounds and quacking. Which tend to be more vocal than adults, thus lead to produce a quack call when pursed and alarmed. Hartebeest their herds tend to migrate these include sassabies and wildebeest; they consume little water to the lowest metabolic rate.
Their diet consists of grasses; they account 95 percent of their food in wet season. Hartebeest are able to digest higher proportion of food than the wildebeest and topi in dry areas where there is no water they feed on roots, melons and tubers.
Mating takes place throughout the year, this happens in one or two peak seasons it can be influenced by the availability of food.
Males and females reach sexual maturity at the age of one to two years of age. Mating in hartebeest takes place in territories, their defended by single males, in open areas. The males will smell the females genitalia later he will follow the female if she is in her estrus. The female sometimes holds out her tail in order to signal the male. The female will stand and allow the male to mount her.
In large herds females often mate with many males.
The gestation period takes place eight to nine months long, the calf weighs 9 kg at birth. They give birth during dry seasons; this occurs in thickets, different from wildebeest, they give birth in groups on plains. The calves move on their own shortly after birth, they will lie in the open close to their mothers. The calf is weaned till when its four months old, the young males will stay with their mothers for two and a half years.
Hartebeests they live from 12 to 15 years of life.
Hartebeest inhabit the wooded grasslands, dry savannas and wooded grasslands, after rainfall they will move into arid places after rainfall. An average home of females range is very large enough to include 20 to 30 males.
HARTEBEESTS WITH HUMANS
Hartebeests are easy to hunt; they stay in popular games and trophy animals easy to hunt.
In Uganda hartebeests inhabit the areas of Murchison falls National Park, Lake Mburo National park and many more.