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Panorama of a Safari Park field exhibit with giraffes, water buffalo, and rhinos

Nile Lechwe

White rhino with calf


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Nile Lechwe

Most people have never heard of Nile lechwe (pronounced LETCH-way or LEECH-wee). They are antelope native to the floodplains of the Nile River Valley. Their long, slender hooves help them walk or run through their swampy, muddy home. While these long hooves are handy for moving through the water, on dry land Nile lechwe tend to look clumsy. Male Nile lechwe go to the water to fight, often submerging their locked heads.

Males and females are the same color when born. But the males' coat changes from the blond coloring they are born with into a dark, chocolate brown. A blazing white patch on their shoulders completes the look. It seems the flashy coat of the adult males denotes their status.

See if you can notice our herd of Nile lechwe in the East Africa field exhibit. View the herd from an Africa Tram, Caravan Safari, or Cart Safari tour.

Free! Living Legends - San Diego Zoo 100. Help save wildlife in our newest puzzle game.