Locking Horns

Taken at The Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Working with a research base rather than a lodge often makes for some interesting situations that your average tourist wouldn’t normally ever know about. In an odd call over the radio I was alerted to a situation involving 2 kudu, apparently they had become stuck together. Male kudu, like many horned antelope, fight with their horns. The odd (and spectacular) thing about kudu is they have spiraled horns. On odd occasion skulls have been found where the horns have intertwined causing both to die a long death.

As this photo suggests, we found 2 males “post-war”. One had died at least the day before (based on the degree of bloating) and the standing “victor” was not in good condition either. Due to the risk of injury to the staff on hand amongst other reasons, it was decided by those in charge that the most humane thing would be to euthanise the male left alive. When he too had passed on, we were able to get a closer look at the entanglement …and could still not remove one from the other.

It was such a rare sighting I was even requested to take photos for the reserve manager because he could not belive that it could happen on his reserve having previously only ever seen pictures in books!


–Alex Tweedie


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