Impala rut – the aftermath

The aftermath of rutting season… Hormone production in Impala rams is stimulated by the shortening days of autumn and causes energy reserves in the neck to build up. Impala ewes notice the enlarged neck which elicits oestrus amongst them. A territorial ram will try to keep a breeding herd within his territory while fighting off other males. In fact Impala males become so concentrated on keeping their herd together and fighting other rams that they forget to eat and have to live off the energy reserves in their necks instead, causing them to lose condition and hence making it easier for other rams to take over. Fights can be fatal. Rams will push each other with their horns and serious wounds do occur. A small puncture in the flank may pierce some part of the intestines and this can lead to septicaemia and death. Even when the losing ram flees, the winner will still try to inflict wounds on his flanks and rump. This ram got off quite lightly. The abscess on his neck is from a fight but he still appears to be in good condition – he could have been much worse off.