QROELENE MARX from Pretoria writes: I saw this impala ram near the Longwe viewpoint overlooking Engelhard Dam in the Kruger Park. Is it an injury? Does it have cancer? It certainly looks uncomfortable… Is there a chance the buck will recover, or will it end up as lion food?
AWildlife expert LD VAN ESSEN says: This could be the result of testicular tortion and a twisting of the cord that supplies blood to the scrotum. It’s not clear from the photo whether the scrotum is purple due to a lack of blood. It could also be the impala’s normal skin colour made visible by hair loss. A testicular tumour is a possibility, but it’s very rare. It’s very painful and will affect the animal’s condition and posture. This impala ram looks fairly healthy, especially if you consider that this photo was taken in September, after the winter. The antelope is also grazing so its appetite seems intact. From a human perspective, it might look uncomfortable, but it might be less so if you’re an animal focused on survival. If the condition affects the impala’s ability to evade predators, its days are numbered. Otherwise it could live a long life.