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Red Lechwe (Kobus leche)

This fine, medium sized antelope stands around 1mt to the shoulder and weighs in at circa 100kg. The female of the species is slightly smaller. The rough, greasy coat varies in colour by subspecies: bright chestnut (Red Lechwe) or black (Black Lechwe). Males generally darken with age. The under parts of the Red Lechwe, neck, chin, mouth and lips are white. The black-tipped tail is white on the underside and the foreleg has a black stripe. A Red Lechwe’s body is long with the hindquarters higher than the shoulders.

The Red Lechwe’s hooves are long and relatively narrow, an adaptation to the marshy environment it prefers. The male Red Lechwe has elegantly swept back horns that grow 45cms - 92 cms long. They are thin, rearward sweeping with upturned, forward sweeping tips and are ridged along most of their length. As with most antelope, the Red Lechwe has peak activity times in the morning and late afternoon. Red Lechwe are at ease in the water and are regularly seen grazing in shoulder deep water.

Red Lechwe are good swimmers but prefer to wade. On land, their long, soft hooves are a disadvantage so as seasonal floods and draughts occur, herds move in with the water and grazing on the edge of the floodplain. In general, females and their young are found in wetter areas, with males, either solitary or in bachelor herds, inhabiting the drier areas. Red Lechwe have no strict social system and often the only lasting bond is between a mother and her recent offspring.

As the Red Lechwe’s habitat is subject to constant change, male Red Lechwe do not hold extended territories. At mating time, The Red Lechwe will hold a “rutting stand” with males defending small patches circa 15 - 200 metres in diameter, come. within a common 'arena'. Each of these clusters is associated with a large herd of females. The smaller, centrally located patches are prone to intense competition due to greater reproductive success and an individual rarely holds this area for more than a few days. When disturbed, Red Lechwe will flee towards the water. Suitable calibres for hunting Red Lechwe are, .270, 7mm x 57, .308, .30-06, .300WM.

Minimum Trophy Measurements SCI 58   RW 26