Our Wilde Plains section is filled with a wide variety of antelope and other hoof stock species. It is best known for our personable reticulated giraffe herd, and features Camp Aventura where guests can meet some of our smaller animal ambassadors up close.
Blackbuck are one of the few antelope species where males and females have different coloration. Females are fawn colored with no horns, while males are born fawn colored, but grow horns and transition to a darker coat as they age. They are incredible athletes, and can reach top speeds of up to 50 miles per hour for short distances.
These antelope can weigh up to 2000 pounds and have mostly straight, tightly spiraled horns that can reach two and a half feet in length. Both males and females have horns. They are the slowest running antelope, sprinting at 25 miles per hour. Eland gather in large herds, especially when females are with young calves.
Waterbuck will spend time in bodies of water to avoid predators that do not like the water. They are identified by their white markings around the eyes, nose, throat bib, and hindquarters. Only males grow horns, which can reach up to three feet in length and start developing within their first year. They can secrete a viscous substance from their sweat glands to attract mates and repel predators.
Both male and female Beisa Oryx have horns that can reach three to four feet long, and are used to deter predators. These creatures are naturally found in dry, arid regions and can go without water for extended periods of time. Their kidneys are highly specialized to retain as much water as possible, while eliminating macro-molecular waste. They can tolerate extreme heat by raising their body temperature to 116 degree Fahrenheit, which helps them to conserve water by not needing to perspire.
They are the world’s largest gazelle, due to their long and slender legs. The high surface area of the legs helps to dissipate heat away from their bodies. Dama Gazelle can display a behavior known as “pronking”, where they leap straight up with all four feet off the ground while keeping the legs stiff. They are a critically endangered species, and their primary threat is habitat loss.
Scimitar Horned Oryx
These beautiful animals were listed as extinct in the wild in 2000, and were over-hunted for their meat and coats. They are able to raise their body temperature similar to the beisa oryx, to prevent moisture loss by not sweating. Their coat pattern helps them to camouflage in the desert.
The Giraffe is the world’s tallest land mammal, with males reaching heights of up to 18 feet tall. A giraffe’s legs can be up to six feet tall, and they can commonly live up to 25 years old. Male giraffes will utilize a behavior known as “necking”, and establish dominance with other males by smacking each other with their heads and necks. Their necks have 7 vertebrae, which is the same number a human has. Giraffes are currently undergoing a “silent extinction”, with their numbers declining almost 40 percent in the past 30 years.
White Bearded Gnu
They are commonly referred to as the “Blue Wildebeest” and migrate every year in search of fresh pastures and water. Such migrations can contain as many as one million individuals, and can stretch thousands of miles. It is considered one of the great natural wonders of the world. Gnus live in more densely packed groups than any other mammal, other than humans.