What are the different type of Kudu?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by FallowJaeger, May 3, 2018.

  1. FallowJaeger

    FallowJaeger AH Member

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    I see PH’s and outfits saying Greater Southern Kudu and Eastern Cape Kudu. What is the difference and aren’t there Kudu across Africa? I just want to know how many Kudu there are. What are the ones most hunters are looking for when they go on Safari?
     

  2. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH Legend

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    There are two types of east African kudu, greater and lesser, no really. The lesser is probably easier to get in east than the greater at least in some areas. But really the greater is the main bugger and is all over the place, with the slightly smaller East Cape a local variation but otherwise the same animal I believe. The southern greater is the most commonly sought as it is widespread. There are many other spiral horns out there as well but that's a whole other discussion.
     
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  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    What Scott said.

    Endemic Areas
    "Historically, the Greater Kudu occurred over much of eastern and southern Africa, from Chad nearly to the Red Sea, south to the Eastern Cape, west to Namibia and north to mid-Angola. While it has disappeared from substantial areas, mainly in the north of its range, it generally persists in a greater part of its former range than other large antelope species, as a result of its secretiveness and its ability to survive in settled areas with sufficient cover. As in the past, it is much more sparsely distributed and less numerous in the northern parts of its range (from northern Tanzania northwards) than further south."

    Southern Greater Kudu
    Tragelaphus strepsiceros

    Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 9.39.09 PM.png


    Lesser Kudu

    Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 9.41.07 PM.png




    http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22054/0
     
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  4. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    Greater - large horns, shaggy looking cape.
    Lesser - shorter horn, fantastic looking cape.

    I would love to have a Lessor, but not paying Tanzania prices for one.

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  5. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH Legend

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    And much smaller bodied as well. I saw them when I hunted Tan in '85 but it was not on my package, but the other chap I hunted with took one. Neat animal.
     
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  6. IvW

    IvW AH Fanatic

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    The kudus are two species of antelope of the genus Tragelaphus:


    • Lesser kudu, Tragelaphus imberbis, of eastern Africa
    • Greater kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros, of eastern and southern Africa
    Formerly four subspecies of Greater kudu have been described, but recently only one to three subspecies have been accepted based on colour, number of stripes and horn length:


    • T. s. strepsiceros – southern parts of the range from southern Kenya to Namibia, Botswana and South Africa
    • T. s. chora – northeastern Africa from northern Kenya through Ethiopia to eastern Sudan, western Somalia and Eritrea
    • T. s. cottoni – Chad and western Sudan
    This classification was supported by the genetic difference of one specimen of northern Kenya (T. s. chora) in comparison with several samples from the southern part of the range between Tanzania and Zimbabwe (T. s. strepsiceros). No specimen of the northwestern population, which may represent a third subspecies (T. s. cottoni) was tested within this study.

    In Groves and Grubb's book Ungulate Taxonomy, a recent taxonomic revision was made that evaluated all species and subspecies of kudu and other ungulates. This review split the genus Tragelaphus into 4 separate genera, Tragelaphus(bushbuck, sitatunga, bongo, nyala, and gedemsa or mountain nyala), Ammelaphus (lesser kudu), Strepsiceros (greater kudu) and their close relatives Taurotragus (elands). The greater kudu was split into four species based on genetic evidence and morphological features (horn structure and coat color). Each species was based on a different subspecies, Strepsiceros strepsiceros (Cape kudu), Strepsiceros chora (northern kudu), Strepsiceros cottoni (western kudu), and Strepsiceros zambesiensis (Zambezi kudu) which is not commonly accepted even as a subspecies. The Cape kudu is found in south central South Africa, the Zambezi kudu (closely related to the Cape kudu) is found from northern to southern Tanzania and northern South Africa, Namibia, and Angola through Zambia, Mozambique, and eastern DR Congo, the northern kudu is found in eastern Sudan southwards through Ethiopia and Kenya to the Tanzanian border, and the western kudu is found in southeastern Chad, western Sudan, and in northern Central African Republic
     
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  7. MT Griz

    MT Griz AH Veteran

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    F122.jpg

    F122_legend.jpg

    For record keeping purposes SCI recognizes 4 types of Kudu. Admittedly some of it arbitrary and based on geography but interesting none the less.
     

  8. Hank2211

    Hank2211 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    SCI recognizes these “types” of greater kudu, but I believe most scientists would agree with the IUCN that these are all the same species, with regional variations in size and general appearance. But I can say from experience that unless you look at them side by side, you would generally be unable to tell them apart (and even side by side - a ‘good size’ Eastern Cape kudu will be larger than a smallish southern Greater. SCI will often be lobbied by outfitters to create a special classification, with no real scientific basis, in order to encourage the hunting of those animals. Not sure if that’s what happened here, but it is plausible.

    The lesser kudu is a different species (“Imberbis” rather than “Strepsiceros”) and is so different that you could not confuse the two.

    Both are majestic, but there is something very special about the little one.
     

  9. MT Griz

    MT Griz AH Veteran

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    And the Lesser Kudu according to SCI
     

  10. Hank2211

    Hank2211 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    The lesser kudu is found in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania.

    Of those countries, Kenya is closed to hunting. I have no idea if hunting is allowed in Somalia or South Sudan, and I'm not going there to find out.

    So two countries left to hunt this animal. In Ethiopia, it's found a long way from the habitat in which the most commonly sought trophy - the mountain nyala - is found, so you need to want to hunt it. If you're bothered by sheep herders dressed in rags who carry AK's and chew khat, well, this isn't the place for you. Even in Tanzania its range is restricted.

    Not an easy animal to get. But necessary if you're after the spiral horned antelopes.
     

  11. FallowJaeger

    FallowJaeger AH Member

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    From what I understand there are two types of Kudu. Greater and Lesser. The Great is the larger of the animals and the one that hunters have more access to. From what I have read, Kudu seem to be one of the animals many folks want to hunt while in Africa. What is it like to hunt Kudu, what makes them the animal that is written about in books (I just finished Hemingway's "Green Hills of Africa", the whole focus seems to be on a getting a Kudu, and one better than his friend)?
     

  12. Hank2211

    Hank2211 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    @FellowJaeger, you are factually correct with your classification.

    There are certainly many reasons to hunt kudu, but the principal one would be their majestic beauty, and the impressive nature of the horns. A second characteristic, and that which caused Hemingway to focus on them in The Green Hills of Africa is their elusive nature. In brushy, but not necessarily thick, country, a kudu can stand immobile for long periods of time, and is extremely difficult to spot. I'd also add that the meat is delicious, second only to eland in my view, and makes great biltong, although I doubt this is a reason for any non-Africans to hunt them.

    Having said that, we should also admit that they were much harder to hunt in East Africa when Hemingway was there (and this was likely always the case), than they are today in Southern Africa. It took me two safaris in Zimbabwe to even see a kudu in free ranging areas, whereas I have never had a trip to South Africa or Namibia when I have not seen a dozen, if not dozens. They are thus fairly easy to get, and the trophy fees reflect this abundance - they tend to be relatively low for such an impressive animal. Note that "big" or "monster" kudu were, and remain, rare, and difficult to find, anywhere.

    I wonder if Hemingway would have focused to the extent he did on kudu if he had been hunting today's South Africa?
     
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  13. FallowJaeger

    FallowJaeger AH Member

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    From what I've seen you @Hank211 have hunted all over South Africa. I'm sure just from looking at videos of RSA hunts it strikes me as very different than what Hemingway was writing about. I also read "White Hunters: The Golden Age of African Safaris", that world of the early 20th to century till 1977 sounds different than what is practice in Southern Africa. I may be wrong since I've never been to Southern Africa (I've been to North Africa, and my wife has been all over the Africa, North, East, West, and South but that was all for work before we married and had children).

    I'm in the planning stages of going on Safari, and I just want to know more about the experience and the animals. Kudu seems to be the animal everyone goes for. Even my country taxidermist has a Kudu shoulder mount on display in his shop from his trip to Africa. I even asked my wife if I got a Kudu where I could put it, she laughed and then walked to our stairwell and pointed out a spot it could go. Thus I think I'll try my hand at getting a Kudu.

    What is considered by you veterans of African hunting a quality animal to take? I want the experience but if I'm going to save up and go, I want to bring back the best animal I can find. Should I look into RSA or Namibia for a Kudu hunt along with other plains game? Thank you for all that posted and shared.
     

  14. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Kudu just have that look when you see them that makes you want to hunt one. They can just disappear like a grey ghost never to be seen again. I have taken 2 greater kudu and my son one great and one east cape. Hope to hunt another with my bow this year.

    You will under stand better once you see some in the bush. As for Sa or Namibia would depend what the other animals on the list are as to which would be better. You can have great hunts in either country.

    I know the east cape is the same as greater by genetics but I think they are two different ones to hunt to me. Yes the east cape ones are smaller but I think they have a nice darker cape and look different because of that.
     

  15. BenKK

    BenKK AH Enthusiast

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    FallowJaeger, I’m no expert, but I love hunting kudu. I’ve hunted them in the green hills of the Eastern Cape and the sandy thorn scrub of Botswana’s Kalahari. Next year I hope to hunt them in the Limpopo Province. I enjoy seeing all these biomes, and hope to add Namibia’s mountains to my experience someday. I wonder if it would help you to choose your first preference for the biome that you would wish to experience most of all if it was your only trip for kudu?
     

  16. BenKK

    BenKK AH Enthusiast

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    Also, keep in mind that while beautiful and magnificent the Eastern Cape kudu is generally a smaller animal than other southern greater kudu. That doesn’t bother me at all, and I dream of returning there someday after I see a few other destinations.
     

  17. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    Namibia is short supply right now (Rabies outbreak), if those are your two choices, RSA is it.
     

  18. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Not all of namibia was hit and there is still plenty of kudu around. Dont think we should be making more of a problem that happens every few years. Either Sa or namibia is a great spot for a kudu hunt.
     

  19. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 5.59.26 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 6.03.59 PM.png
    Cycles of terrestrial rabies are associated with carnivores. In non-carnivorous species, rabies typically occurs as a spill-over from the carnivore reservoir and quickly encounters a dead end in such species. One major exception to this scenario has been an ongoing epizootic of rabies in the Greater Kudu, an African antelope. These herbivores are found in high densities in southern Africa, but rabies cycles have only been described from Namibia, a vast country located in the South Western region of Africa. Epizootics were first noted in the late 1970's and losses of up to 50 000 animals were estimated by 1985. Between 2002 and 2011, Namibian conservancies again estimated kudu losses ranging from 30-70%, resulting in very significant economic losses to the farming and gaming industries of the country. The sheer magnitude of the epizootic, phylogenetic data and experimental evidence of the particular susceptibility of kudu to rabies infection via mucous membranes are factors in support of a hypothesis that suggests horizontal transmission and maintenance of a rabies cycle within this species. It has become critical to investigate pathways for effective rabies control in Namibia--including the development of a strategy to halt and reverse the devastating epizootic of kudu rabies.
    Rabies in kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)
    Berliner und Münchener tierärztliche Wochenschrift 125(5-6):236-41 · June 2012 
     

  20. Hank2211

    Hank2211 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    @FallowJaeger, you pose interesting questions. Before answering, it would be helpful to attend to some definitional issues.

    First, you use the term "quality animal". Secondly, you say "best animal".

    While many of us might agree on what the terms mean, I know that many others of us would not. For me, a "quality animal" is any animal which has not been handled in the manner of livestock, and which can be hunted in a fair chase manner, even allowing for fences (properties large enough for the animal to live out the normal life and behaviour of such animals in the wild).

    Equally, for me, the " best animal" is almost never the one with the biggest horns, or the largest mass, or whatever. I look for old animals which, while they might not have the best horns, have gotten old by being smart. Alone is better, and past breeding is best.

    This is not to say that those who look to achieve a record, SCI or Rowland Ward, are not right. When I went elephant hunting, my goal was 50 pounds a side or better (which shows you the variety of responses you can get to your question). We all have goals, and mine include the nine spiral horned and the tiny ten, for example. If your goals include a 60" kudu, then by all means go for it.

    I would say this though, by way of general advice. Look for a big property. Big is of course relative, but it has to be big enough for animals to live and die "naturally." There are so many BIG properties in South Africa and Namibia that you don't need to settle for a small property. And tell your PH that you want to hunt, not shoot, and that you want to get as close as possible to the animal. You will bust more stalks that way, but if you aren't focused on how many animals you can shoot in a day (as I was on my first safari to South Africa), the experience will be worth it.

    I also recommend you not shoot from a vehicle, because that's not really hunting. I have done that and while it is legal in most of Southern Africa (depends a bit on the country and type of property), to me it's shooting (which is fine if that's what you want), but it's not hunting.

    Good luck with the first hunt!
     
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