Today, the animal I have most enjoyed seeing is the Waterbuck

Male Waterbuck
Male Waterbuck

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These antelopes graze in marshy areas and lagoons, but are not as “aquatic” as their name sounds compared with sitatunga in Uganda or lechwe in Botswana. I find them rather skittish and shy. As soon as I stop to take a photograph, they move on.

Female Waterbuck
Female Waterbuck

In Colombo Zoo, 30 years ago, I made the mistake of scratching a tame waterbuck on its muzzle as it poked its head through the bars. My fingers reeked of its rank scent for about a week, despite Lady Macbethean efforts to wash it off. Apparently other predators feel the same way, and will only attack a waterbuck if they are really hungry.

Family group
Family group

There are two types of waterbuck in Zambia. We have the standard type with a white ellipse around its hind quarters. The guides all tell the joke about how Noah was having some problems with basic hygiene on the ark. He had whitewashed the toilets, but the waterbuck was desperate to go and sat on the seat, acquiring a white ring. The other species is the Defassa, which is found in Kafue National Park. It backed into the urinals and has a white vertical stripe down the back of its hindquarters.

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