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Swayne's Hartebeest

Amharic:Korkay:- The common African hartebeest has fifteen races of which two are already extinct and Swayne's is seriously endangered. In 1891-2, Brigadier-General Swayne, who discovered the animals,

was the first European to visit the area well south of the Golis range of Somaliland and about 200 kms. (125 miles) from the coast. The plains were described as "covered with hartebeest, 300-400 to a herd and a dozen or so herds in sight at any time"- Herds of a thousand individuals were observed. Within fifteen years the tens of thousands in Haud and Ogo that Swayne had seen had dwindled to such an extent that he estimated only about 880 remained. This rapid decline was due to the rinderpest, which swept Africa during the last century. The Somalis "went out daily and pulled down the sick animals with their bare hands in order to take the hides".

Military campaigns followed in which the armed forces were permitted to kill as much game as they wanted. Arms flowed in and in the unsettled conditions which prevailed hunters very efficiently, and in a very short time, had almost succeeded in wiping out the remnants of the Oryx and Hartebeest herds in the area.

Hartebeest are almost grotesquely long-faced and have high withers and sloping hindquarters. The horns, carried by both sexes, are doubly curved and mounted on a pedicle. Some authors still consider that according to the shape of the horns, which is supposed to be the most important diagnostic character, each race of hartebeest should enjoy full specific rank. However, the presence of hybrid forms has led zoologists to regard them as a sub-species, and it is now generally accepted to classify them as geographic representatives of the same species.
Three types of horns can be distinguished in the buselaphus group:

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