The wildebeest is a large type of antelope with a short, broad head and broad, heavy horns rather like those of a buffalo. The horns are part of the animal's skull and remain throughout its life, as in cattle and sheep.
Neither the extraordinary ability of the young to run a mere 20 minutes after their birth nor the wildebeest's generally fierce and foreboding appearance mitigate their short life expectancy: Wildebeests are not ferocious, and are taken in large numbers by predators such as lions, hyenas and wild dogs.
There are two species: the common wildebeest of central Africa and the black wildebeest of South Africa. Another name for wildebeest is gnu.
The average shoulder height of the common wildebeest is about 1.3 m (4 ft.). Average weight is 200 kg (440 lb.). The black wildebeest is about 10% smaller and 25% lighter.
The common wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) is the famous migratory animal of Africa. More than 1.5 million animals move with the rains on the Serengeti plains. They represent the greatest concentration of grazing animals left on Earth.
The black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou) was almost made extinct by over-hunting in the 19th century. Concerted conservation efforts since then have resulted in a rebound of the population and much reintroduction to former range. This species is now considered conservation dependent, which means that remnant populations must continue to be protected.