Fight to the death
QHENNIE VAN DEVENTER from Melkbosstrand writes: I saw these impalas near Satara in the Kruger Park – the one was dead. The ram carefully approached the body, sniffed and licked it, then took a step back to see what would happen. He repeated the process and even tried to rouse the dead impala by jumping on it. Why did he do this?
AWildlife expert LD VAN ESSEN says: I suspect the two rams had been fighting earlier. In May and June, impala rams battle it out over territory and ewes. The fact that the living ram jumped on the dead one and nudged it with its head points to aggression – something the ram’s body language in the photo also suggests. It’s not a common occurrence, but antelope can seriously wound and even kill each other during a fight. If the tip of a ram’s horn nicks an artery of its enemy, the wounded antelope will bleed to death. The winner usually chases the loser and stabs it in the sides with its horns, which can also be fatal. Normally the loser manages to run away, but in this case it seems to have succumbed to its injuries and the other ram kept attacking.