Blesbok

Blesbok

Mammalia

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: blesbok
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Artiodactyla
FAMILY: Bovidae
GENUS SPECIES: Damaliscus (heifer, young cow) dorcas (antelope) phillipsi(scientific explorer)

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Medium-sized antelope with copper brown fur and black spiral horns
SIZE: 85-100 cm (34-40 in)
WEIGHT:
MALE 65-80 kg (143-176 lbs)
FEMALE 55-70 kg (121-154 lbs)
DIET: Grazers; eating grass in sparse wooded areas
GESTATION: 7.5-8 months; one young per birth; mating occurs between April and June, with the subsequent calves being born from November to February. Mothers do not leave the herd to give birth.
SEXUAL MATURITY: 2.5 years
LIFE SPAN: Up to 17 years
RANGE: South Africa
HABITAT: Highveld, or higher elevation grasslands
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent
CITES Subspecies not listed
USFWS Subspecies, bontebok is Endangered

FUN FACTS

1. The common name is a derivative of the Afrikaans words for blazed antelope, which is in reference to the white blaze found on their face.
2. Smaller relatives of the wildebeest, Blesbok populations have rebounded after being hunted to near extinction during the European colonization of southern Africa.
3. They graze on medium to tall grasses and migrate to follow the rains. Females give birth to usually a single calf early in the summer.
4. Blesbok calves differ from most other small or medium antelope species by staying with their mothers instead of hiding.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

By eating grasses, Blesbok keep the grasslands trim, spawning new growth. They are food for larger predators. Their numbers suffer due to habitat loss and pelt trade. In addition, encroachment and competition with domestic livestock are a constant threat.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Estes, R.D. The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals. Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing Co. 1993.

Gotch, A.F. Mammals-Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, U.K.: Blandford Press Btd. 1979.

Nowak, Ronald M. Walker's Mammals of the World Fifth Ed.. Vol. II. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1991.

Parker, Sybil P. ed. Grzimeks Encyclopedia: Mammals. Vol. 5. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. 1990.