msafiri WILDLIFE 134 generally deliver under cover and keep the youngsters in hiding for a while. Grey duiker offspring take about half an hour to rise, baby klipspringer require a month before they can boulder- hop and baby roan have to wait about six weeks before being able to trot alongside their parents. Amazingly, sitatunga young can swim before they can walk properly. While in hiding, newly born antelope are relatively odourless and can remain motionless for hours between a mother's visits. Ever- committed, after feeding she will either consume her offspring's waste matter to keep the site smell- free, or find a new site. Unsurprisingly, some might say, most males walk away from child- rearing responsibilities. However, duiker, suni, klipspringer and Damara dik- dik rams, having pair- bonded for life, stick around to protect the family and its resources. One of the Herd Many of the smaller buck lead solitary lives most of the time, but the majority of the medium- and larger-sized antelope live in groups of varying size ( and sometimes species). Gathering together reduces any one individual's chances of being caught by a predator. It can also provide better opportunities for feeding, social interaction and finding a mate. Plains game in particular find it advantageous to gather together in large numbers when migrating or when predators abound. On the downside, competition for food, water and a mate increases, the herd is more conspicuous and diseases can spread quickly. Six distinct social groups may be seen: an adult male-female couple; a pair or more of adult males; a group of mixed- age bachelors; a nursery of juveniles; a breeding herd of mothers and offspring; and a harem comprising a male with several wives. Staying Alive An acute sense of smell aside, evolution has given antelope very large ears, and eyes on the side of the head. They are therefore fairly well equipped to keep an all- round watch for lion, leopard, cheetah, hyaena, wild dog and, in the case of the smaller buck, pythons and Crowned eagles. Some species — springbok and TOP: Wildebeest gather in vast herds for the migration through the Serengeti- Mara, making the hunt more difficult for predators. ABOVE: Power struggle. gemsbok fighting, Etosha National Park, Namibia.