National Animal of Angola

National Animal of Angola

Angola’s national animal is the giant sable antelope. It is a rare species with a large body structure which makes it be considered by many citizens of Angola as the national animal of Angola. This animal is found in the Congo and Luando Rivers in Angola. Sable antelopes are naturally shy. But when they are hurt, they can be dangerous. They use their horns to fight off anything they consider an enemy.

Sable antelopes live in forests close to water sources. Since they are endangered species, they are protected in national parks where hunting them is forbidden. In a census conducted in July 2015, the number of sable antelopes was found to be less than 100 (The International Union for Conference Nature). This low number, according to IUCN, is due to the fact that human beings hunt them. The organization has categorized them as extremely endangered species.

Facts about the national animal of Angola (sable antelope)

  • Common name: sable antelope
  • Scientific name: Hippotagus niger
  • Found in: between Congo and Luando Rivers
  • Habitat: forests
  • Main food: grass
  • Average length: 116-142cm (male); 81-165cm (female)
  • Average weight: 238kg (male); 220kg (female)
  • Average lifespan in the wild: 16 years
  • Average lifespan in captivity: 19 years

In Angola, you will find the image of the giant sable antelopes on banknotes, passports and even stamps. Perhaps this is why the animal is also considered the national symbol of Angola. This can also be supported by the fact that Angola’s national football team is usually referred to as palanca negra, which is the Portuguese meaning of sable antelope. This animal is usually harmless when not disturbed. It is also very shy in front of a human being.

The national animal of Angola has long horns which can measure up to between 61-102cm for female while the male has between 81 and 165cm long. At the age of above 3 years old, the males develop a darker complexion as compared to their female counterparts. Their horns are also massive. Because this animal has been used on notes, stumps and other areas, they can be considered to be the national animal symbol of Angola.


  1. Giant stable antelope” – Africa Wildlife Foundation
  2. Angola’s antelope struggle in post-war environment”-Global Ideas on Biodiversity
  3. Availability of Sable Antelope”- National Geographic