1. Question: What is the scientific classification of the Thomson's Gazelle?
Answer: The Thomson's Gazelle belongs to the Animalia kingdom. It falls under the Phylum Chordata, Class Mammalia, and Order Artiodactyla which comprises animals with even-toed ungulates. The Family is Bovidae, encompassing hollow-horned ruminants. Genus is Gazella and the species name is Gazella thomsonii.
2. Question: Where is the natural habitat of the Thomson's Gazelle?
Answer: The primary natural habitat of the Thomson's Gazelle is the African acacia savanna. This covers an extensive area that includes parts of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
3. Question: Details and comparison between a Thomson's Gazelle and the gazelle housed in the Bilbao zoo?
Answer: The Bilbao zoo in Spain houses a variety of wildlife, including a close relative of the Thomson's Gazelle known as the Dorcas Gazelle. The Dorcas Gazelle is smaller than the Thomson's Gazelle. While both are fast runners, it's the Thomson's Gazelle that is known for its high-speed endurance.
4. Question: What is the lifespan of the Thomson's Gazelle?
Answer: In the wild, the Thomson's Gazelle lives for approximately 10-15 years. However, in captivity, due to protected environment and regular veterinary care, their lifespan can extend up to 20 years.
5. Question: Why is the Thomson's Gazelle sometimes referred to as 'Tommie'?
Answer: The Thomson's Gazelle received the nickname 'Tommie' as shorthand derived from the last name of explorer Joseph Thomson. This nickname is often used in popular wildlife documentaries and books.
6. Question: What's the role of the frontalis muscle in the Thomson's Gazelle?
Answer: Part of the facial musculature, the frontalis muscle in the Thomson's Gazelle contributes to a variety of facial and ear movements. A pronounced frontalis also helps them in unique gazelle behaviors such as pronking or stotting – a stiff-legged leap meant to demonstrate fitness and evade predators.
7. Question: What is the diet of Thomson's Gazelle?
Answer: As grazers, the primary diet of Thomson’s gazelles consists of grass. During the dry seasons, they can also ingest broad-leafed plants. Their specialized digestive system enables them to extract maximum moisture from their food, reducing their need for water.
8. Question: What adaptations does the Thomson's gazelle have for survival?
Answer: Thomson's Gazelles have numerous adaptations for survival, including a slender body for high-speed running. They have excellent eyesight and hearing for detecting predators and are even known to eat alongside predators to prevent sudden attacks.
9. Question: How does the mating pattern look like for the Thomson's Gazelle?
Answer: The Thomson's Gazelle follows a polygynous mating system. The males, known as bucks, will control territories where females, known as does, are frequent. They mate with multiple females during a breeding season, each one producing a single offspring after a gestation period around six months.
10. Question: What are some of the threats facing the Thomson's Gazelle population?
Answer: The Thomson's Gazelle faces a variety of threats, including loss of habitat due to agricultural expansion, predation by natural predators such as lions and cheetahs, and human activity such as hunting and poaching. Climate change also impacts water and food availability, further posing a threat to their survival.