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Thomson’s gazelle (Gazella thomsonii)

Thomson’s gazelle is the smaller of the two east African members of the gazelle tribe, Grant’s gazelle being the larger. The petite “Tommy” is highly associated with short green grassland. With its small incisor width and highly mobile lips much unlike the buffalo they thrive on short savannah green flush (Estes 1997).

Being able to feed on the grass that most other grazers have abandoned, it is together with wildebeest and the zebra the last in the savannah grazing succession, but they are also the first in feeding on the new grass after rains and fires. Although favouring the nearly depleted pastures, Thomson’s gazelle are also mixed feeders so that when food is scarce they can use the protein rich browse as supplement and also selectively feed in the tall grassland (Estes 1997). The Thomson’s gazelle can either be sedentary or migrate. When they migrate their route is similar to the wildebeest’s and the zebra’s.

When staying behind, they benefit from the relieved resource competition in the absence of the larger and highly aggregated wildebeest concentrations.

Thomson’s gazelles are described as water-dependent and have been known to walk up to 16 km a day for water, but they are also drought tolerant and able to extract water from the food (Estes 1997).

Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/23/05