First baby Impala of the season in Mkhuze Game Reserve

These special images were taken by our very own Bronwen Kelly in Mkhuze Game Reserve. Bronwen lives in the reserve as her husband, Dennis Kelly, is a section ranger. During November, our conservation volunteers have been spotting these little ones all over Zululand. It’s an exciting time in the bush once the rains arrive!

Impala (‘Aepyceros melampus’) are a common sight in our Zululand protected areas. Impala have a restricted mating season in Autumn and the lambs are born during the months of November to January after a gestation of 194-200 days. The females break away from the herds to give birth in isolation. The whole of the calf crop is born within a restricted period of a few weeks, the timing varying with locality.

Impala lambs have a mass of about 5kg at birth and are fully haired except for the lower parts of the limbs. The young are left hidden for a day or two, but are capable of following their mothers 24 hours after birth when they rejoin the herds. Lambs are at first uncoordinated in their movements and stay close to their mothers. They form temporary “nursery herds” with large groups of lambs accompanied by the mothers, each of who are only in close association with their own young when their lamb suckles. Predation by Hyaenas and other large predators including Cheetah is high during the early stages of their life, when Jackals and pythons also take their toll.

Information taken from “The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion”, by J.D. Skinner and R.H.N Smithers.

Bronwen Kelly | Volunteer Reservations | Mkhuze Game Reserve