Springbok.. Spring = Jump; Bok = antelope or goat..

Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) or Springing Goat..

This antelope has a special meaning to most South Africans.. it used to be the emblem worn by all our sportsmen and women…

An antelope that can reach speeds of 100 km/h (62 mph), leap 4 m (13 feet) into the air and jump a distance of up to 15 m (50 feet) has to be what our sports people are all about..

It stands about 70 to 90 cm (28 to 35 in) high. Springbok males weigh between 32 and 48 kg (71 and 110 lb.) and the females between 25 and 35 kg (55 and 77 lb.). Not that big an antelope..

When the male springbok is showing off his strength or to attract a female, or maybe to ward off predators, he starts off in a stiff-legged trot, jumping up into the air with an arched back every few paces and lifting the flap along his back. Lifting the flap causes the long white hairs under the tail to stand up in a fan shape, which in turn emits a strong scent of sweat. This ritual is known as stotting or pronking from Afrikaans meaning to boast or show off.

Rams are slightly larger than ewes, and have thicker horns; the ewes tend to have skinnier legs and longer, more frail horns.

When feeding the ewes will sometimes leave the young in a crèche.. It was while shooting one such crèche, that I noticed how long the ears are of a springbok really are.. once the horns grow it seems to be less obvious… shame, talk about “Big ears” and “Noddy”, he had nothing on these little buck…

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Kudu..

Greater kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros

Following on yesterdays post (one that was done for a quick post) I hope to enlighten you a bit more, with photos I’ve taken over time…

The Kudu bull is a solitary animal and only usually joins a herd for breeding.. their fights for the right to breed are normally just a show of size and hair raising, but if they do, it is a clash of horns. This clash has been the demise of some as when those twisted horns interlock there is not always a way out. At Skukuza camp in the Kruger National Park there is a bronze life size depiction of such an encounter.

Kruger National Park - March 2009Statue of kudu bulls with horns interlocked, Skukuza

These magnificent antelope can so easily blend into their surrounds, which is acacia bush or densely forested areas.. they are not often seen in the open savannahs of Africa, this is to avoid the predators.. but as they are browsers, eat leaves, they will be found in the shrubbery of their choice… How’s this for camouflage..????

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There are two females eating in there…..

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The males are much bigger than the females.. and more vocal..using low grunts, clucks, humming, and gasping.

Males weigh 190–270 kg (420–600 lb.), with a maximum of 315 kg (690 lb.), and stand up to 160 cm (63 in) tall at the shoulder. Females weigh 120–210 kg (260–460 lb.) and stand as little as 100 cm (39 in) tall at the shoulder; they are hornless, without a beard or nose markings (don’t have to shave).

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The following two photos I took very quickly.. older males that don’t stand around to see what the Bulldog is going to do next.. so these were LUCKY captures and are not quite as sharp as I would have liked.. but that is the result of us surprising each other…

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The above photo I had actually stopped to light a cigarette when I spotted him before he spotted me.. he was walking towards me and I squatted down and sat still, there is no zoom here and he almost walked right into me before he turned and ran.. the camera probably frightened him when the shutter sounded.. I must admit I nearly dirtied my pants with joy of this capture.. never been so close to one so big in the wild before, without it having been shot as a trophy.

And for the final photo… one I just love.. don’t ask me why.. I just do… it might just have something to do with the horns.. this is an old bull, one that has survived the twists and dangers of life in the Kruger National Park.. a magnificent pair of horns …their large horns with two and a half twists, which, if they were to be straightened, would reach an average length of 120 cm (47 in), with the record being 187.64 cm (73.87 in).

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