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Lechwe, Nile.jpg

The Nile lechwe or Mrs Gray's lechwe (Kobus megaceros) is a species of antelope. Males are an average of 165 cm (65 in) long and 100–105 cm (39–41 in) tall at the shoulders, and weigh between 90 and 120 kg (200 and 260 lb), while females are an average of 135 cm (53 in) long, 80–85 cm (31–33 in) tall at the shoulders, and weigh 60–90 kg (130–200 lb). Nile lechwes live an average of 10 to 11.5 years, and most uncommonly 19 years. Their coats are shaggy with the hair on the cheeks particularly long in both sexes, and males may have even longer hair on their necks. Nile lechwe exhibit extreme sexual dimorphism. Females are golden-brown (juveniles also have golden-brown coat, but the color changes to dark brown in young males when they reach two to three years of age) with white underbellies and no horns. Males are chocolate brown to russet with white 'hoods' over their shoulders and small white patches over their eyes. The Nile lechwe typically occur in shallow waters bordering deeper swamps, where the water is 10–40 cm (3.9–15.7 in) deep. Nile lechwe are endemic to Sudan and Ethiopia. In Sudan the majority of the population occurs in the Sudd swamps towards the south, and in the Machars near the Ethiopian border in smaller numbers. In Ethiopia occurs in the southwest, in the Gambella National Park, but in very less numbers possibly due to human settlement and habitat degradation. The habitat of the Nile lechwe has been severely affected by civil wars, human displacement and resettlement, firearm attacks and increased hunting. Even its seasonal movements were restricted due to large populations of cattle in and around its range. The Nile lechwe population in the Sudds, however, remained somewhat stable throughout this period.


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