Meet the Roan Antelope, which isn't hard to recognise because it's got a pretty distinctive face, with a long white stripe running down either side of its nose.

It stands fairly tall, is almost as large as a horse, and look how strong and sturdy those ringed horns are on the top of its head. In the wild these horns can sometimes grow as much as a metre long.

And if two males are challenging each other to rule a herd they will fight ferociously by repeatedly clashing their horns together until one of them surrenders.

There are quite large numbers of these antelope in the wild, mainly in west and central Africa, but conservationists and zoos like us are still concerned about their future survival.

For in some parts of the world where they were once commonly found there are now only a handful left. In Burundi and Eritrea, for instance, there are no known Roan Antelope remaining, while in Uganda and Kenya, they have also been almost completely wiped out.

This is due to a combination of hunting and agricultural developers taking over large areas of land where the antelope would otherwise live. They are also affected by climate change, as herds need nutritious grazing grasses and a regular water source to survive.

So it's important for us to continue to monitor numbers of Roan Antelope in the wild. The strongest, most healthy herds are mainly in protected conservation areas and national parks.

They live in groups of up to 35, a mix of females and young, all led by a single male who defends the herd from rival males.

There are around 7 antelope in our group, and we have successfully bred a number of young including our most recent calf born in March 2012.

Read more

Interesting facts

Where they live West and Central Africa, including Congo, Chad, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Habitat Savannas, woodlands, bush and grassland
Size 1.2-1.5m shoulder height; up to 2.5m length
Weight 250-300kg
Threats Habitat loss; hunting

Species Information

Scientific name Hippotragus equinus
Order Artiodactyla
Family Bovidae
Genus Hippotragus
IUCN status Least Concern
Roles in the zoo

Visitor experience