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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Secretary Bird.. the Accountant of the Bush..

Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius)

The Secretary Bird is instantly recognised it has an eagle-like body, on crane-like legs giving it a height of as much as 1.3 m (4 ft.). It has an eagle-like head with a hooked bill, but rounded wings. its weight can range from 2.3 to 4.5 kg (5.1 to 9.9 lb.) and height is 90–130 cm (35–51 in). A wingspan of 191–220 cm (75–87 in). The tarsus of the secretary bird averages 31 cm (12 in) and the tail is 57–85 cm (22–33 in), both of which factor into making them both taller and longer than any other species of raptor. The neck is not long, so to drink they must stoop.

Secretary Birds are endemic to Sub-Saharan Africa and are non-migratory, though they may follow food sources. Their range extends from Senegal to Somalia and south to the Cape of Good Hope. They prefer open grasslands or savannahs rather than forests or dense shrub. They roost in the trees but spend the day on the ground, where they hunt on foot. Prey consists of insects, mammals ranging in size from mice, hares, mongoose, crabs, lizards, snakes, tortoises, young birds, bird eggs, and sometimes dead animals killed in bush fires.

They can either catch prey by chasing it and striking with the bill and swallowing (usually with small prey), or stamping on prey until it is rendered stunned or unconscious enough to swallow.

The nest is around 2.5 m (eight feet) wide and 30 cm (one foot) deep, and is constructed as a relatively flat basin of sticks. Secretary birds lay two to three oval, pale-green eggs over the course of two to three days.

The Secretary Bird is the national emblem of Sudan as well as a prominent feature on the Coat of arms of South Africa.

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Notice all the pens and pencils he carries behind his ears….

Yellow mongoose.. Kalahari Gemsbok Park.

Yellow Mongoose (Cynictis penicillata)

It sometimes referred to as the red meerkat, it is a small mammal averaging about 1 lb. (1/2 kg) in weight and about 20 in (500 mm) in length. A member of the mongoose family, it lives in open country, from semi-desert scrubland to grasslands in South Africa.

The yellow mongoose is carnivorous, consuming mostly arthropods but also other small mammals, lizards, snakes and eggs of all kinds.

Predators of the yellow mongoose are birds of prey, snakes and jackals. When frightened, the yellow mongoose will growl and secrete from its anal glands. It can also scream, bark, and purr, though these are exceptions, as the yellow mongoose is usually silent, and communicates mood and status through tail movements.

These two little fellows paid us a visit at our tent, and entertained us with the antics… Son naturally had to feed them, so we had less to eat….

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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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