Where do kob live?
Although still numerous in Western Uganda, kobs are far less common now in other areas of East Africa. They were once found in Western Kenya and Northern Tanzania but have not been seen there in recent years. Kobs do still range across sub-Saharan Africa. They prefer low-lying flats or gently rolling country, free of seasonal extremes and close to permanent water.
Tags: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DRC, Niger, Uganda, Regional Parc W, West/Central Africa
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What is a kob?
The kob is similar in appearance to the impala, but the two species are not related. The Ugandan kob generally is reddish-brown, but other subspecies range from light brown to almost black. The underside of the body is white, a white ring appears around each eye, and a white patch or chevron appears on the throat; a black stripe runs down the front of each foreleg. Horns occur only in males and though lyre-shaped, they are shorter, thicker, and ringed almost to the tip.
Kobs are dependent on larger animals for prime grazing conditions.
Kobs graze on short grass and are dependent on larger animals such as hippos, buffalo, topis, and hartebeests to create those grazing conditions. Like reedbucks and waterbucks, kobs develop attachments to particular localities, returning to the same grazing areas and watering places day after day, season after season.
Unlike other antelopes, kob males practice the art of courtship.
The premating and postmating behavior of kobs is different from that of other antelopes. The male is not as rough with the female and does not attempt to force her to stay within his territory—rather, he appears to try gently to convince her. He makes soft noises during courtship play, repeatedly whistling through his nostrils after mating. The sound carries across the breeding grounds and may be echoed by the other territorial males.
Kobs hold strongly to social traditions.
The social structure of the kob is based on small herds that come together into larger groups of up to 1,000 animals. Unlike most other antelopes, the kob has permanent breeding grounds, called leks, where almost all mating takes place—some of these have been in continuous use for at least 50 years. Lekking grounds, usually located on a knoll or elevated area near water, are roughly circular in shape and are 20 to 100 yards in diameter. When female kobs come into heat, they are attracted by the concentrated deposits of hormone-rich urine that accumulates in the leks. Competition for the innermost territories is fierce, and males hold their territories for only a day or two before turnover.
Newborns are suckled until they are half the size of an adult.
Females suckle a single young kob for six to seven months. At the time of weaning, it has reached half of its adult size. Young males begin to grow their horns at 5 months, and by 1 year of age, the horns are about as long as the ears. Kobs become sexually mature between 13 and 14 months, but a male will not be active in the breeding grounds until he is 3 or 4 years old.