GEMSBOK FACT FILE

by Wildlife South Africa


GEMSBOK FACT FILE
Latin Name: Oryx gazella
Afrikaans: Gemsbok
 
 
Distribution in South Africa
 
Gemsbok or Oryx were traditionally found in the northwestern and western parts of South Africa, which is the Northern Cape, Kalahari, North West and Western Cape.  
 
In the present day, due to commercial game farming and through breeding and selling, they occur throughout South Africa on game farms. There are no Gemsbok in the Kruger National Park, but they can be seen in a number of other parks especially in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
 
Habitat
 
Gemsbok prefer dry areas, open savannah and desert grassland.
 
 
Habits
 
They are gregarious and occur in medium to large breeding herds (mixed bulls, cows and calves), herds consisting of bulls only (bachelor herds) as well as territorial bulls.
 
Day or night
 
Mainly active by day.
 
Difference between bull and cow
 
Both Bulls and cows have horns. The bulls have horns that are more symmetrical and thicker towards the base and the cows often have longer horns, although thinner and often asymmetrical. Bulls are heavier and of stockier build than cows.
 
Mass
 
Male (Bull): 240 Kilograms
Female (Cow): 210 Kilograms
 
Breeding 
 
Gemsbok reach sexual maturity after about two years. Usually one calf is born after which calf is hidden away (in tall grass or shrubs) from the herd for up to 6 weeks. The cow visits often to let the calf suckle. After the period of about six weeks the calf is introduced to the herd.
 
 
Gestation period
 
264 Days
 
Lifespan
 
15 to 19 years
 
Diet / Food and water
 
They are mainly grazers (grass eaters) but also eat pods of especially the Camel thorn (Acacia erioloba), small shrubs and bushes. They also dig up roots and bulbs to eat, from which they get moisture and thus do not need water often. 
 
Enemies
 
Mainly Lion, Leopard, Hyena, Humans.