Grant’s Gazelle (Nanger granti) is a large, pale gazelle with long horns and legs. They have a distinct rectangular, white shape on the hindquarters and a contrasting black stripe running down the thigh. It’s are closely related and physically similar to Thomson’s gazelle. Its name in Swahili is “swala granti.”
Both Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles possess white colouring on the hindquarters, but Grant’s gazelles have more white than Thompson’s gazelles, and Grant’s is paler and has bigger horns than Thompson’s. The young are more darkly coloured than adults.
Males are larger than females and have longer, thicker horns, ranging from 50 to 80 cm. Both have ringed horns, but females have smaller horns (30 to 40 cm) that are thin and symmetrical.
In Uganda, Grant’sGrant’s Gazelle roam the contiguous Pian Upe, Matheniko and Bokora wildlife reserves in Karamoja, northeastern Uganda.
The Grant’s gazelle is found in East Africa and inhabits semiarid, open savannas and treeless plains. They avoid acacia forests unless they have traversed well-travelled paths.
They are migratory animals but travel in the opposite direction of most other ungulates, such as Thomson’s gazelles, zebras, and wildebeest, which are more water dependent.
They can flourish on vegetation found in dry, semiarid areas, where they face little competition.
Gazelles are browsers and grazers feeding on various plant parts, including leaves, shoots, fallen flowers and fruits.
They are generally drought tolerant species requiring very little water, and they meet their water requirements mainly from the plant parts they consume.
Grant’s gazelles are migratory and move seasonally throughout their range, except in areas with year-round supplies of forage. They migrate in groups, and some groups establish home ranges.
Herds may segregate into groups of bachelor males and females with dominant males. Social rank in this species is organised around males when migrating. The less dominant, younger males are towards the front of the unit, whereas the more dominant males are in the back.
That kind of organisation also results in equally matched opponents in fights, as it is more likely that nearby males will display dominance and fight one another.
Territorial males mark areas with a combination of faeces and urine, which requires the gazelle to advertise his white rump. As a result of this advertisement, other Grant’s gazelles either show interest or withdraw.
These attractive antelopes show dominance through side-by-side strutting. In strutting alongside other territorial males, a male may express his dominance by raising his neck and tilting his horns slightly.
Another way by which Grant’s gazelles show dominance is through fighting. When two males approach each other to fight, they quickly move their heads downwards towards one another as one tries to throw the other off balance, and the fight will prove who has the more powerful neck muscles.
As a form of anti-predatory behaviour, Grant’s gazelle uses alert posture, alarm snorts and stamping as signals of a predator in the vicinity. It avoids water holes, where predators are plentiful, and prey are vulnerable.
Females may resist when a fawn is captured by a predator, cooperating with other females to defend the abducted fawn fiercely. This defence often chases the predator away, leaving the fawn unharmed.
Grant’s gazelle and many other ungulates display an anti-parasitic behaviour of selective defecation. It defecates in specific locations to keep the parasites associated with dung piles away from other members of the herd. Also, it avoids foraging in areas where it poops.
From Kampala, head north towards Karamoja District in Eastern Uganda, and from Soroti town, visit the Pian Upe, Matheniko and Bokora wildlife reserves.
A trip here requires an extensive visit also to explore the region’s rich cultures, especially the nomadic Karamojong tribs.
Grant’s Gazelle Nanger granti has most recently been assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2016. Nanger granti is listed as Least Concern.