Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tough Tommies

Normally when I think of Thompson gazelles, Tommies, the phrase “relentless fighter” doesn’t come to mind. However on Christmas Eve I saw two of them engaged in what can only be described as an epic showdown.

It was fascinating to watch the strategies the combatants used, and how they employed their horns in the fight. A bout was initiated by butting their heads together, and then using the tips of their horns to lunges, feint, and parry. 

The initial contact.

Examples of the fencing using the tips of their horns.

Once they locked horns, not only did the Tommies push against each other in an effort try to shove the other over, but they also would try to catch one of their opponent’s horns using the ridges along the shaft of the horn and clamp it to the ground. The trapped opponent would then have to twist his way out of the clamp, and once freed the two would start the process all over again.
Locking horns to test each other's strength.
The Tommy on the right clamping the horn of the horn of his opponent to the ground.

What also amazed me was the fact that these Tommies had been fighting when arrived, went on non-stop for the 5 minutes we watched them, and continued to duke it out with no signs of stopping as we left. To keep up that level of exertion for so long is no small feat, and is worthy of respect.

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