Also referred to as Tragelaphus spekii, the Sitatunga antelope is a swamp dwelling antelope thriving in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa including; Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania, Gabon, Kenya and Uganda where it is explored on Uganda safari tours.
described by John Speke in the year 1863, the Sitatunga stands as a
medium sized antelope with males rising to 81 -116cm at the shoulder
height while females reach 72 – 90cm. Male Sitatunga weighs 76 – 119kg
while females weigh 24 – 57kg. Sitatungas feature hairy bodies with
water resistant coat that varies in color. The feet and body are
designed specially for its swamp habitat adaptation. The spiral horns
are present only in males as often encountered on wildlife safaris in Uganda extending from 45 – 92cm in length.
species of antelope tend to be more active during the early morning and
late in the evening and at night. Sitatunga are not territorial species
and are notably selective in what they eat as they mainly feed on fresh
grasses, new foliage, aquatic plants and browse.
Sitatunga attain sexual maturity at the age of one year while for males,
it takes one and a half years. The breeding among these antelopes
takes place all the year-round though it is always at its peak during
the dry season. The gestation period lasts for close to eight (9) months
after which a single calf is produced. Caring occurs for approximately
six (6) months and the life span of Sitatunga is about 22 – 23 years in
Sitatunga thrives in marshy and swampy habitats as viewed on Uganda tours. The habitats include seasonal swamps, riparian thickets, marshy clearings inside forests and mangrove swamps.
Sitatunga antelope’s survival is threatened by habitat loss. However,
it is listed as species of Least Concern on the red list International
Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Travelers on Safaris to Uganda
interested in antelope can consider visiting Bigodi wetland sanctuary
near Kibale National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison
Falls National Park among others.