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Mon, 12 Aug 2013 11:25 - Updated Mon, 12 Aug 2013 11:24

Palanca Negras Arena pavilion honours Malanje rarity


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Malanje – After naming the Angolan football team, Palanca Negra is the new name of the pavilion, to be inaugurated this Monday so as to host the “Zé Dú” international rink hockey tournament, set for 22-25 August in the northern Malanje province.

The competition aims to pay homage to the Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos, under his 71st birthday to be marked on 28 August.

 The 3,000 spectators pavilion was built in eight months in Voanvoala ward, some eight kilometers south of Malanje city and is officially called "Palanca Negra," in a reference to the Giant Sable Antelope, a rare species that exists only in Angola.

Giant Sable Antelope is the national symbol of Angola and all Angolans respect this animal, according to the African mythology, it represents the vivacity, speed and beauty.The giant sable antelope, (Hippotragus niger variani), also known in Portuguese as the
palanca-negra-gigante, is a large, rare subspecies of sable antelope native and endemic to the region between the Cuango and Luando Rivers in Angola.

There was a great degree of uncertainty regarding the number of animals that survived during the Angolan civil war. In January 2004, a group from the Centro de Estudos e Investigação Científica of the Catholic University of Angola, led by Dr. Pedro vaz Pinto, was
able to obtain photographic evidence of one of the remaining herds from a series of trap cameras installed in the Cangandala National Park, south of Malanje.

The giant sable antelope is the national symbol of Angola, and is held in a great regard by its people. This was perhaps one of the reasons the animals survived the long civil war. In African mythology, just like other antelopes, they symbolize vivacity, velocity, beauty and visual sharpness.The giant sable antelope is evaluated as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Both sexes have horns, which can reach 1.5 meters in length. Males and females are very similar in appearance until they reach three years of age, when the males become darker and develop majestic horns. The male antelope weighs an average of 238 kg (520 lb) with a height of 116–142 cm (46–56 in). Females weigh 220 kg and are slightly shorter than males.

The horns are massive and more curved in males, reaching lengths of 81–165 cm (32–65 in), while females' horns are only 61–102 cm (24–40 in) in length. Coloration in bulls is black, while females and young are chestnut, except in southern populations, where
females turn brown-black. Most sable antelopes have white "eyebrows", their rostra are sectioned into cheek stripes, and their bellies and rump patches are white. Young under two months old typically are light brown and have slight markings.