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November 16, 2018

Nairobi Park Diary: Kirk's dik dik

A rarely seen Kirk’s dik dik
A rarely seen Kirk’s dik dik

Recently while driving in the Athi basin on the road from the Hippo pools to junction No11, we rounded a corner and suddenly, a tiny creature jumped into the road. It stood still and looked directly at our vehicle. Wow, it was a Kirk’s dik-dik! Rarely seen in the Nairobi National Park.

Over many years I have personally seen a Kirk’s dik dik actually inside the park on three occasions, along the Eastern and Southern boundary. I have also seen them just outside the Masai gate in the Silole sanctuary. 

It should be noted that Kenya has three types of dik dik, namely Kirk’s (in the south) and Guenthers (in the north) and the rarely seen Salt’s dik dik in Northeastern Kenya. 

In Somalia there are two other dik dik species, namely Salts and Silver, making a total of four species of small antelope in the genus Madoqua (dik dik) in East Africa. All dik diks have an elongated nose with a tuft of fur on the top of the head.

They stand about 30–40cm at the shoulder, are 50–70cm long, weigh 3–6kg and can live for up to 10 years. Dik-diks are named after the alarm calls of the females. 

Both the male and female make a shrill, whistling sound. These calls may alert other animals to predators.

Some people mistake Suni for Dik Dik. However, Suni are only found in the Langata forested section. Suni are even smaller than dik dik, and vary in colour from fawn grey to chestnut brown on the back with white underneath.

Next time you drive through the park along the rocky-dry Eastern-Southern boundary, be on the lookout for the rarely seen Kirk’s dik dik.

 

For more information on the park, you can link to the following websites: www.kws.org or www.nairobigreenline.com or on Facebook – Nairobi National Park

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