22
Apr
09

Earth Day Special: Save the Impalas!

In 1956, Chevrolet brass had a great idea for an upscale sports car based on their newly re-powered Corvette.  When the prototype hit the show car circuit, they needed an appropriate name.  But what do you call a small and agile, yet very powerful sports car?

You name it after a small and agile, yet very powerful wild animal.  More specifically, you name it after the impala-a medium-sized African antelope known for being one of the fastest hoofed animals on the savannah.

The Impala-image courtesy National Geographic SocietyImage courtesy of the National Geographic Society

Although Chevy would later brand their biggest, cushiest, and least impala-like cars with the moniker, the four-legged version would continue to be an important part of the African Savanna’s ecosystem.

Despite its beauty and grace (as seen in the Chevy Impala emblem), the animal is best known for leaping ability.  The impala has been known to leap distances of up to 33 feet at a time, and can easily fly over obstacles 10 feet high.

The Impala is also a herd animal.  Much like your local Chevy Impala club, the fleet-footed critter can gather in huge groups of several hundred when there is access to suitable food.  However, the herds are primarily made up of female animals with their young offspring.

Even though Impalas are listed as “Endangered” by the National Geographic Foundation, they actually dominate most savannahs.  This is not only because of their adaptability, letting them graze on green grass, and browse on foliage and  shoots at the same time.

And now that you know where one of the most popular cars of our generation got its name, please help the National Geographic Society save the original Impala for future generations.  It’s by far the best way to celebrate Earth Day that doesn’t involve beating Al Gore with his own electricity bill.

Click Here to make a donation, so the impala-and countless thousands of other wild animals-will still be around for the future.

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