impalaAn impala  is a medium-sized African antelope. Impala range between 30 and 37 in tall and weigh 88–130 lb.

They are found in savannas and thick bushveld in Kenya, Tanzania, Swaziland, Mozambique, northern Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, southern Angola, northeastern South Africa and Uganda. Impalas can be found in numbers of up to 2,000,000 in Africa.

Impalas are sexually dimorphic. They are 30 and 37 in tall. Average mass for a male impala is 88 to 170 lb, while females weigh about 66 to 110 lb. The coat is short and glossy, normally reddish-brown in color hence the Afrikaans name rooibok, not to be confused with rhebok. They have lighter flanks and white underbellies with a characteristic “M” marking on the rear.

Only the males, referred to as rams, have lyre-shaped horns, which can reach up to 18–36 inches in length. Females, referred to as ewes lack horns.It has distinctive black and white stripes running down the rump and the tail. The black impala, found in very few places in Africa, is an extremely rare type. A recessive gene causes the black coloration in these animals. Impalas have scent glands covered in the fur of the back feet and sebaceous glands on the head.

Females and young form herds of up to 200 individuals. When food is plentiful, adult males will establish territories. Females pass through the territories with the best food resources. Territorial males round up any female herds that enter their grounds, and will chase away bachelor males that follow. They will even chase away recently weaned males. A male impala tries to prevent any female from leaving his territory. During the dry seasons, territories are abandoned, as herds must travel farther to find food. Large, mixed tranquil herds of females and males form. Young male impalas which have been made to leave their previous herd form bachelor herds of around 30 individuals. Males that are able to dominate their herd are contenders for assuming control of a territory.

The breeding season of impalas, also called rutting, begins toward the end of the wet season in May. The entire affair typically lasts approximately three weeks. While young are usually born after six to seven months, the mother has the ability to delay giving birth for an additional month if conditions are harsh. When giving birth, a female impala will isolate herself from the herd,despite numerous attempts by the male to keep her in his territory. The impala female will keep the fawn in an isolated spot for a few days or even leave it lying out in hiding for a few days, weeks, or more, before returning to the herd. There, the fawn will join a nursery group and will go to its mother only to nurse or when predators are near. Fawns are suckled for four to six months. Males which mature are forced out of the group and will join bachelor herds.

When frightened or startled, the whole herd starts leaping about to confuse their predator. They can jump distances of more than 33 ft and 9 ft into the air, impalas will explode in a magnificent spectacle of leaping. Impalas can reach running speeds zig-zag of about 37 mph on average with the peak on 50 mph, to escape their predators. When escaping from predators, they can release a scent from glands on their heels, which can help them stay together. This is done by performing a high kick of their hind legs.

The common impala is one of the most abundant antelopes in Africa, with about one-quarter of the population occurring in protected areas. The largest numbers occur in areas such as the Masai Mara and Kajiado (Kenya); Serengeti, Ruaha and Selous (Tanzania); Luangwa Valley (Zambia); Okavango (Botswana); Hwange, Sebungwe and the Zambezi Valley (Zimbabwe); Kruger National Park (South Africa) and on private farms and conservancies (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia). The rare Black-faced impalas survive in Etosha National Park and private farms in Namibia.