Africa; Tanzania, Ngorongoro Crater

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There are thousands of animals in this 120 square mile caldera. It always has water and thus green plants and grazing animals. This is just right for predators as well. The lions and spotted hyenas are always plentiful. But I think I’ll start with an unlikely look – let’s look at a few of the horns seen on the grazing animals. There are Thomson’s gazelles, eland, and a few others that won’t be pictured but the four offer a look at the variety.

Here two wildebeest drink from a fresh water stream. The animal on the right is a yearling while the other is at least a year older. The “boss” of the horns is larger on the older animal. They drink from the freshwater stream as the lake it flows into gets more and more alkaline as water evaporates.
The hartebeest are members of the horse-antelope group. These long-faced animals have horns mounted on a pedestal. The ears and horn protrude in a paired ladder sort of way. Notice the flies on the underside, there are several creatures that make a living on the bodies of the warm-blooded grazers.
The African, or Cape, buffalo is a very common grazer wherever there is permanent water. The bulls develop a thick and heavy “boss” over time. The females generally have thinner horns and an open space between the horns (on the forehead).
The Grant’s gazelle is a robust antelope with annulated lyre-shaped horns. There are several subspecies of this antelope and the pattern of the horn shape varies one to another. The characteristic used for field identification of this animal is a band of white above the tail. It is the only antelope with this sort of marking. Of course the shape of the horns is also a big help.

I am currently working with a safari tour group and will post as time allows.  I can provide more depth on the subjects when I get home.

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