Ethiopia: Simien Mountains NP – Klipspringer Antelopes
The Simien Mountain are famous for the gelada baboons and super rare Walia Ibex, but there are a couple other antelope species here that are worth a mention – like the cute and diminutive Klipspringer. They are small, only about 50-60cm tall and weighing 20-25kg. Grayish in color, they blend with the environment quite well, they are actively both day and night, and can be spotted on the cliff edges (last time when I was at the Simien NP, I didn’t see any of them). Interestingly, klipspringers have a unique hoof structure that allows them to easily navigate rocky terrain, and jump very high and far. The hooves have a rubbery pad on the bottom that provides traction and helps the animal to maintain its footing on slippery rocks, it also function as a spring for jumping. On top of this, klipspringers are able to rotate the hoof when they are moving on rocky terrain, this rotation allows them to adjust the angle of their hooves to match the angle of the rock surface to maintain balance and stability. And they are super cute!