Into Africa is a new immersive reserve with amazing views of some of our favourite African animals. Phase 1 opened in Summer 2016 with Eland and Lechwe antelope, Ostrich, Giraffe and endangered Grevy’s Zebra. The animals roam together in the landscaped reserve. Into Africa is the closest to a view over the Savannah that you will find outside Africa.
Phase 2 is due to open in early 2017, and will introduce critically endangered Black Rhino to Yorkshire Wildlife Park as part of the international conservation effort and breeding programme.
Giraffe – Giraffa camelopardalis
Our tallest residents at YWP, we have two subspecies of Giraffe, two Reticulated Giraffe, one endangered Rothschild’s Giraffe and one hybrid. Giraffe are arguably the most fascinating animal in the world, from an evolutionary view they are extremely well adapted to their environment. For example, did you know that Giraffe have black/blue tongues to avoid getting sunburnt and their special system of veins in their neck stop them getting a rush of blood to the head when they bend down.
Rothschild’s giraffe like our Jambo are endangered, with less than 1,100 left in East Africa. To put this into perspective, there are approximately 5,000 Reticulated giraffe like Palle and Jengo left in the wild, Reticulated giraffe are classified as least concern.
Grévy’s Zebra – Equus grevyi
Grévy’s zebra are endangered with less than 3,000 left in Ethiopia and Kenya. There was once over 15,000 Grévy’s zebra found in East Africa but their number have plummeted due to poaching, habitat loss and disease. They are the largest of the wild horse species weighing up to 450kg.
Kafue Flats Lechwe – Kobus leche kafuensis
Only found in the Kafue Flats area of Zambia, Kafue Flats lechwe have long elegant legs and huge dark eyes. It is only the male Lechwe that have beautiful swept back horns. Kafue Flats lechwe typically live in swampy floodplains, they are extremely well adapted for this habitat with hooves that spread wide, allowing them to move easily in swampy conditions.
Lechwe typically feed on grass and plant material around floodplains, because they spend so much time in and around water, they are very good swimmers and have been known to completely submerge themselves in water to avoid predation and search for food. Lechwe typically give birth to their young on dry land during the dry season, after a gestation period of 7-8 months
Ostrich – Struthio camelus
Ostriches are the largest and heaviest of all birds. Excellent at evading predators, their acute hearing and eyesight can sense predators from miles away. If one did get into a bit of trouble with a predator, they have been known to run at speeds in excess of 40mph, being the fastest animal on two legs.
Not only are Ostriches fantastic at evading predators, they are also pretty good at defending themselves, their legs are very powerful and kicks from an ostrich have been known to kill lions. Contrary to popular beliefs Ostrich do not bury their heads in the sand, but when they see a predator they can’t outrun they place their head and neck close to the ground, from a distance this looks like their head is buried in the sand as their head and neck are a similar colour to the sand.
Their diet consists mainly of plants, seeds and fruits however they do eat insects as well, because they lack teeth they swallow pebbles to grind food in their gizzard.
Common Eland – Taurotragus oryx
The world’s largest antelope, the Eland can be found in East and Southern Africa. They have large majestic horns and beautiful black and white banding on their legs. Their diet consists mainly of grasses and leaves, and can conserve water by reducing their body temperature. They tend to live in herds of up to 500 animals.
Eland herds are accompanied by a loud clicking noise, it is thought this clicking noise results from the weight of the animal, splaying their hooves when on the ground and then snapping the hoof back together when the eland raises it’s leg again.
Chapman’s Zebra – Equus burchelli chapmani
Probably one of the most recognisable African animals, the Zebra has distinctive black and white stripes that help protect them against predators. It is though that when zebras stand in herds their stripes blend together making it difficult for a predator such as a lion to single one out.
Adult Zebras live in large harem herds, consisting of family groups and bachelors. Typically the harems consist of 1 herd stallion and 1-6 females and their offspring, with the females staying in the same harems all their lives.
Addax – Addax nasomaculatas
Also known as screwhorned antelope,these stunning animals are one of the most critically endangered mammals. There are less than 300 of them remaining in the wild today. Many years ago addax used to form large herds numbering in the hundreds, but sadly today they can only be found singly or in groups of up to four animals.
Addax have many adaptations to help them survive in their native desert environment, they can go most of their life without drinking water.
Hunting and the spread of agriculture have left this animal with a very uncertain future. It is probable that the only reason the addax still exists today is that it live in a hostile environment that man finds difficult, if not impossible to navigate. They have been reintroduced in North Africa into protected areas. Introduction into the wider area are not possible because of the terrain and inhospitable nature of the environment. The animals will be able to survive but it would be difficult for the conservationists to track, monitor and protect them from poachers.
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