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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Springbok

   

Introduction: The springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) is the most common antelope in Namibia, and you will see huge herds of them on both commercial farmland and in designated game parks. The springbok is also one of the fastest antelopes. Both male and female carry the lyrate horns which rise from the head and slope slightly backwards.

The name marsupialis was added because of a pocket-like skin flap that extends along the middle of the back from the tail onwards. In times of mating, the male shows off his strength and to attract a mate jumps into the air, which lifts the flap along his back. This action causes the long white hairs under the tail to stand up in a clearly visible fan shape, which in turn emits a strong floral scent of sweat. This stiff legged bouncing motion is known as pronking, an Afrikaans name meaning to show off or to boast. It is also initiated to ward off predators.

Distribution: The range of the springbok is amazing and they can be found in the Namib Desert, living on the sparse vegetation and in the farmlands around Windhoek. In central Namibia, vast herds often congregate and they are found in Etosha National Park, where they often mingle with herds of zebra and wildebeest, a predators’ delight!

Diet: Springbok browse in the dry season and graze in the wet. They will drink water when it is available, most of their moisture requirements are satisfied by their food intake. They are also known to use mineral licks.

Coloring: Cinnamon coloured upper body, white under parts and a broad dark brown stripe on either flank stretching from the front legs to the rear legs. The short white tail is brown tufted. The rump is marked by a triangular-shaped white patch, framed by a dark brown stripe with the apex on the top of the hindquarters.

Breeding: Most ewes breed every year, some even twice. Young are weaned at about 4 months and ewes become sexually mature at the age of seven months. The gestation period is 24 weeks.

Size: Rams may weigh up to 50kg and stand about 75cm at the shoulder and ewes slightly smaller and lighter at around 37kg.

   
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