Sable do not occur naturally in Etosha and attempts to introduce them have been unsuccessful.
The reason for this failure and for the decline in number of sable antelope in general can be attributed to their highly specialised feeding habits and dependence on water. They cannot survive unless they are within easy reach of water (1km or less). They prefer foliage and herbs, especially those growing on termite mounds, and are reluctant browsers. Unless they can feed on grasses at heights of 40-140 millimetres from the ground, their nutritional requirements are not met and their health fails.