BLESBOK FACT FILE

13 March 2015 by Wildlife South Africa


BLESBOK FACT FILE
Latin Name: Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi
Afrikaans: Blesbok
 
Distribution in South Africa 
 
Blesbok in South Africa can be found throughout the country and are bred extensively on private game farms as their meat is sought after by local hunters. 
 
They originally occurred in a large area in the central part of South Africa, highveld plains and other grassveld plains in colder climate. Nowadays due to extensive game farming, selling, breeding, reselling and resettling of these antelope, they are widely distributed, even occurring in the bushveld which is not their natural habitat.
 
There are no Blesbok in the Kruger National Park but they can be found in some of the other national parks.
 
They occur in the Free State central grasslands and highlands and in the Eastern Cape, the midland and highlands of KwaZulu-Natal, also in Northwest, Northern Cape, Southern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng and even Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
 
 
Habitat
 
Their natural habitat is highveld, open grassveld / grassland with water.
 
Habits
 
Gregarious animals that form herds of females with young and young rams – also bachelor herds and then territorial rams. The rams will fight aggressively during mating season to procure some females in their territory. During winter especially, large herds form with dominant rams, sub-adult rams and ewes with their young, numbering up to hundred or more on some game farms.
 
Day or night
 
Mainly active by day (Diurnal).
 
Difference between male and female
 
Blesbok males (Rams) are stockier and more robustly built and they also weigh more than ewes (females). Although both sexes have horns, rams horns are thicker and usually longer than the horns of ewes.
 
Mass
 
Male: Approximately 66 to 73 kg
Female: Approximately 58 to 64 kg
 
 
Breeding
 
Usually one lamb is born any time from November to January. The newborn lamb can run with the herd within 30 minutes of being born.
 
Gestation period
 
8 months
 
Lifespan
 
11 years
 
Diet / Food and water
 
Exclusively grazers - especially short grass. Need water.
 
Enemies
 
Cheetah, Leopard, Caracal and Jackal (prey mainly on the young), Hyena, Humans.
 
Status
 
Blesbok are abundant in South Africa and is one of the top 3 species of antelope most hunted in South Africa for meat and biltong by local hunters.
 
Interesting Facts
 
In days gone by, they were hunted mercilessly by pioneers and settlers for their meat and hides.
 
Blesbok can be confused with Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus), however the Bontebok has a clear white rump amongst other features, which the Blesbok (Blesbok have a pale rump) does not have. Another difference between the two is the fact that Bontebok have white lower legs and Blesbok rarely have absolute continuously clear white lower legs.