Gerenuk (Licranius walleri)

Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:   Bovidae
Size:    Height: 32 to 42 inches (80 to 105 cm) at the shoulder   Length: 55 to 63 inches (140 to 160 cm)  
Weight: 64 to 114 pounds (29 to 52 kg)
Diet: Leaves, flowers, buds and shoots 
Distribution: Eastern Africa
Young:  1 fawn every 8 or 9 months
Animal Predators:  Leopards, lions, wild dogs, jackals and cheetahs
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Conservation Dependent 
Terms: Young: Fawn
Lifespan: Up to 12 years



·       Gerenuk means “giraffe-necked in the Somali language.

·       Gerenuks can walk short distances on their hind legs. 

·       Gerenuks are also known as “Waller’s gazelles.”



These antelopes have a reddish-brown back with lighter brown on the sides and legs, and white undersides. Their neck is extremely long and their wedge-shaped head is small. They have large, rounded ears and large eyes, with a ring of white around each eye. They have long legs and a short tail that ends in a black tuft of hair. Males have thick, ringed horns that curve back from their heads.  



Gerenuks live in east Africa, in eastern and central Ethiopia, as well as through Somalia, Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are found in woodland forest to open plain environments. 


Feeding Habits

Gerenuks feed on leaves, buds, flowers and shoots. They stand on their hind legs and use their front legs to reach as high as eight feet (2.4 m) off the ground to obtain food. They do not eat grass and rarely drink water, obtaining sufficient moisture from the foods they eat. 



Females leave the herd when they are ready to give birth. Gestation lasts between six and seven months. They give birth to a single fawn and leave it in a secluded, well-sheltered spot, coming back several times per day to feed it and clean it off so that it does not have any scent to attract or alert predators. In approximately two weeks, the mother will bring her fawn to join the herd. Female offspring may stay with the herd they were born into for life, while young males leave to join a bachelor herd between one and two years of age. Females may begin breeding at approximately one year of age, while males reach sexual maturity at one-and-a-half years. 



Gerenuks live in groups of up to 10 same gender animals. When startled, they freeze, and at the first opportunity, quietly trot away with their head lowered to the same height as their shoulders. Despite their long legs, they are not fast runners. Gerenuks are active throughout the day, especially at dawn and dusk. They mark their territory on twigs and bushes with a tar-like substance that is secreted from glands in front of the eyes. 



According to the IUCN, the major threats to the gerenuk are hunting and habitat loss due to livestock ranching.