Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest

A wildebeest’s humped shoulders, lightly built hindquarters, and long legs allow him to break into a run easily, a very important ability when avoiding predators. Wildebeests usually form herds averaging 8 individuals, but herds often overlap each other, changing the number of associated individuals daily. They will migrate to new areas in search of food and water. Males are territorial and will defend their access to resources or their mate. However, during the dry season when resources are limited for all, males are much more tolerant of each other. All females give birth together on calving grounds, but a mother will always recognize her own calf by scent and call and will refuse to nurse any other’s calf. Wildebeests are not highly social with each other, but they are tolerant of other species – they are often found in a herd together with other herd animals, such as zebras.

Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest

Connochaetes taurinus albojubatus

Distribution: Short grass plains and savannas in Tanzania and Kenya

Diet in the Wild: Grasses

Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Mixed greens, grain and hay

IUCN Red List Status: The overall species C. taurinus is rated as least concern, though population numbers for this subspecies have drastically decreased.

Interesting Facts:

Between the late 1990’s and 2010, estimates of the eastern white-bearded wildebeest population fell from 94,000 to between 6,000 and 8,000.

This species’ namesake white beard distinguishes it from other wildebeest subspecies, most of which have black beards.

Each year, when the rainy season ends (around May or June), wildebeest migrate northwest in a herd about of about 1.5 million individuals. The herd is also joined by plains zebra and Thompson’s gazelles, with predators such as lions in tow waiting for young or weak members to break from the herd.

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