It’s always exciting coming across wildlife in the bush, but when South African filmmaker Pieter Uys and Peace Parks’ PR Specialist in Mozambique, Nuno Francisco, stop to film a small herd of nyala – a species of southern African antelope – they get a little more than they had bargained for.
Now, you might remember this infamous duo from previous Peace Parks TV ‘Men On A Mission’ episodes when the pair were tasked with filming some updates from both Maputo and Zinave national parks. Although they got the job done, they got up to a lot of mischief on the way, and this time was no different as they set off through Mozambique’s Maputo National Park in search of some wildlife to film.
Despite the thick bush, Pieter manages to capture some action of two nyala bulls having a scuffle over a rather disinterested female who is keeping a close watch over her calf. Unlike other antelope, engaging in a physical fight is usually not the preferred way of showing dominance between nyala, and instead, the males usually partake in what looks like a slow, stuttered dance. So slow, in fact, that it might raise the question of: ‘Are they all right?’ or ‘Did he pull a muscle?’
How do nyala show dominance?
This strange yet fascinating display of dominance is known as a lateral display and usually starts with the two males circling each other with their faces trained on the ground, all the while keeping their eyes locked on their rival. They will also fluff up their tails and erect their white manes on their back, attempting to make themselves appear as big as possible while slowly stepping around each other. The winner gets mating rights to the female if she’ll have him, and the loser will usually leave the area and continue to forage. Unfortunately, today is neither of these nyalas’ day as the female remains utterly disinterested in either.
What are the main differences between males and females?
Known as the nomads of the bush due to their endless wandering, this beautiful species is the most sexually dimorphic antelope in the world and the male and female are often mistaken as being two different species entirely. Apart from being double the female’s size, a mature nyala bull has a shaggy, dark brown coat, while the smaller females and juveniles have chestnut-brown coloured coats with distinctive white stripes along the sides.
What do nyala eat?
While preferring to eat broad-leafed plants, it’s not unusual to see nyala stripping bark off trees or grazing on freshly sprouted grass. Their varied diet has helped them to become widespread across southern Africa, enabling them to survive in a variety of different environments.
Peace Parks Foundation does all that it can to ensure that wildlife such as nyala are kept safe by providing training to counter-poaching units within areas such as Maputo National Park. As the wildlife continue to thrive in this beautiful area, long-term and sustainable employment opportunities are provided to communities living in and around conservation areas through increased tourism. This is a win-win for the landscape, for the people, and, of course, visitors to Africa’s magnificent, protected areas.