Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/439

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431
THE LECHÉ.

tively easy transport to the sea-coast of the produce of a rich and fertile interior.

A great variety of animals are found in the Lake regions, more especially in the vicinity of the rivers,[1] such as elephants, rhinoceroses, buffaloes, giraffes, koodoos, pallahs, &c., as also two new species of antelopes, the nakong and the leché, both of which are well represented on the following plate.

The leché bears some resemblance to the pallah, but is altogether a larger animal. In size, indeed, it almost equals the water-buck (aigocerus ellipsiprymnus), and the horns are very similar to those of the male of that beast. The general color of the skin is a pale brown; chest, belly, and orbits, white; and front of legs dark brown. The fur (which in the young animal is long, soft, and often curly) of the adult is short and "adpressed." The upper part of the nape and withers are provided with a small whorl of hair. The tip of the tail (slender at the base) is adorned with a tuft of black hair.

The leché is a species of water-buck; for, though not actually living in water, he is never found any distance from it. When pursued, the leche unhesitatingly plunges into the water, however deep. Great numbers are annually destroyed by the Bayeye, who convert their hides into a kind of rug for sleeping on, carosses, and other articles of wearing apparel.

To the best of my belief, the nakong has never been described by naturalists.[2] Unfortunately, the materials I pos-

  1. Dr. Livingstone informs us that on the first discovery of the Zouga, its banks literally swarmed with wild animals, and that in the course of three years no less than nine hundred elephants were killed. However, from the persecution to which the game is constantly exposed, and the introduction of fire-arms, the number of animals has rapidly decreased, and what remain are wild and wary.
  2. Dr. Gray, of the British Museum, to whom I submitted an imperfect skin and a sketch of the head of the nakong, is unable to determine its exact nature, but seems inclined to consider it identical with