Red hartebeest.. Closely related to the Tsessebe

Red hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus caama)

This antelope I photographed in the Kalagadi Gemsbok Park, but they are also in the Rietvlei Nature reserve a few Kilometres away from us… they are a Southern African animal and belong to a fairly large family of ungulates.

The breed once a year, with an eight month gestation period, dropping their young in early Spring. The calves are fairly weak at birth and are hidden during the day by their mothers. Once able to run with the herd they are brought into the family giving them a better chance of survival.. Although predators do capture hartebeest, they do not make up a primary source of food for any of them.. Lion may capture full grown males, Cheetah, hyena and leopard will rather go for the young…

Hartebeests have an excellent sense of hearing and smell, although their sense of sight is poor. When alarmed, hartebeests elude confusion before running, reaching a maximum speed of 55 km/hr. Their evasion tactic is to run in a zigzag pattern, making it difficult for predators to catch them.

The average weight of a male is about 150 kg, and female is 120 kg. Their average shoulder height is 135 cm, and horns are 60 cm long. Very difficult to tell the difference between males and females.. the males have a slightly bigger head size.. much like the human race… it’s for bumping heads when fighting over females..

These were drinking from a small hole in the ground which one of the animals had dug… not necessarily the hartebeest…

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Blue Wildebeest .. and their young ..

Months ago I posted on the Blue Wildebeest and shared my photos taken in the Kruger National Park… these are from the Kalahari Gemsbok Park…

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The early morning shots have such a wonderful colour in the Kalahari..

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To see all the young was a privilege.. obviously they are doing well in the desert…

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Gemsbok or Gemsbuck…

The Gemsbok (Oryx gazella).

It is a large antelope in the Oryx genus. It is native to the arid regions of Southern Africa, such as the Kalahari Desert. The current gemsbok population in South Africa is estimated at 373,000.

The name “gemsbok” in English is derived from Afrikaans gemsbok, which itself is derived from the Dutch name of the male chamois, gemsbok.

Gemsbok are the largest species in the Oryx genus. They stand about 1.2 m (3.9 ft.) at the shoulder. The body length can vary from 190 to 240 cm (75 to 94 in) and the tail measures 45 to 90 cm (18 to 35 in). Male Gemsbok can weigh between 220 and 300 kg (490 and 660 lb.), while females weigh 100–210 kg (220–460 lb.).

Gemsbok are widely hunted for their spectacular horns that average 85 cm (33 in) in length. From a distance, the only outward difference between males and females is their horns, and many hunters mistake females for males each year. In males, these horns are perfectly straight, extending from the base of the skull to a slight outward and rearward angle. Females have longer, thinner horns with a slight outward and rearward curve in addition to their angle. But don’t always believe what you read…..

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Female gemsbok use their horns to defend themselves and their offspring from predators, while males primarily use their horns to defend their territories from other males.

Gemsbok live in herds of about 10-40 animals, which consist of a dominant male, a few non-dominant males, and females. They are mainly desert-dwelling and do not depend on drinking to supply their physiological water needs. They can reach running speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph).

In 1969, the New Mexico State Department of Game and Fish decided to introduce gemsbok to the Tularosa Basin in the United States.

Forget those ones…. here are some from the Park named after them.. The Kalahari Gemsbok Park….

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The common eland (Taurotragus oryx)

I just happened to capture these photos as an eland moved behind a Zebra. I didn’t see the potential of the photos till I down-loaded to the computer…

A zebra is not that small an antelope, weighing in at approx. 350 kg. or 770 lbs. and standing 1.3 m. or 4 ft. 4 inches at the shoulder… an Eland however is the second largest antelope in the World… weighing in at an average 600 kg. or 1320 lbs. and 1,6 m. or 5 ft. at the shoulder. This young bull or youngish bull moved into frame and passed behind the zebra, demonstrating just how darn big he is….

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This is either a small zebra, or one big mother of an eland…………………….

Springbok…..Springbokke (The rugby team)

Springbok [Antidorcas marsupialis]

The national rugby team of South Africa is still known as the Springboks.

Springbok in their hundreds of thousands roamed the arid regions of southern Africa at the time the first settlers arrived, but the herds were quickly decimated. The Springbok is the most abundant antelope in the central and western parts of South Africa. Some herds are still free roaming within some of its natural range, but most are now confined to farmlands and reserves.

Rams may weigh up to 50 Kg, and ewes only up to 37 Kg. Their striking body colour renders them easily recognizable. Shoulders appear lower than the hindquarters. 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. Horns of ewes are more slender and shorter than those of rams.

Only rams establish territories for mating opportunities. The exception is territorial rams, which prefer to live in the solitude of their territories. Herd composition is flexible.













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