(Kodus leche) Found naturally in an open savannah wetland area of Zambia, along a portion of the Zambia River, called the Kafue Flats.
The Kafue lechwe is a medium sized, reddish brown antelope with a white underside. The under parts, neck, chin, mouth and lips are white. They have distinctive black markings on the face and front legs. Males generally grow darker with age. The hind legs are somewhat longer in proportion than in other antelopes, to ease long-distance running in marshy soil. Their hooves are long, soft and splayed which enables them to move easily on marshy ground and in wetland habitats. They stand 2.75 feet to 3.6 feet at the shoulder and weigh between 130-290lb. Males have long horns which are thin and ringed for most of their length. Horns are back-slanted with tips that curve slightly upward. Lyre shaped, these horns can reach 3 feet in length. Females do not possess horns.
Kafue lechwe live marshy habitats and prefer swamps and wetlands. They are excellent swimmers, but prefer wading in shallow water and walking on boggy ground. Kafue lechwe are comfortable standing and feeding in water up to 2.5 feet. When frightened, lechwe completely submerge leaving only their nostrils exposed. Like most antelope species, lechwe have peak activity periods during morning and late afternoon. There is no strict social structure in lechwe because of their natural nomadic behavior – following rains and floodplains in Africa. Females do, however, often exhibit ‘lekking’ or defending small patches within a common area. Kafue lechwe give a snorting-cough as an alert signal and during mating displays.
Subsist on a diet of grasses and water plants.
Females have a gestation period of 7-8 months and give birth to a single young. The majority of births occur from July-October, although breeding has been noted throughout the year. The young lie up for several weeks after birth before joining their mothers. Young are weaned at around 4 months. Females mature sexually quicker than males (1.5 years vs. 2.5 years).
Can generally survive up to 15 years.
Kafue Lechwe Hunting
Expect to pay around $5,000 for a Kafue lechwe in the U.S. Check out our ‘Find A Hunt’ section for featured outfitters.
Scoring Your Trophy Lechwe, Kafue
SCI Record Book Minimums:
|Gold||78 6/8"||70 2/8"|
Current Record(s) Held:
#1 - 88 & 4/8 - Howard "Bud" Wulforst
#5 - 85 & 3/8 - L. Irvin Barnhart (pictured)