WILDLIFE SOUTH AFRICA
 
SPRINGBOK
Latin Name: Antidorcas marsupialis
Afrikaans: Springbok
Springbok
Distribution in South Africa:
Due to game farming, breeding and selling they are widely distributed throughout South Africa on game farms, except in the eastern parts of South Africa. There are no Springbok in the Kruger National Park, but Springbok can be found in a number of national parks especially in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park where they have occurred naturally for hundreds of years.
Habitat:
Traditionally they prefer the colder inland plato, Karoo and especially the Kalahari regions with shrub, bush, open short grassveld and shrubveld, as well as open arid plains. Due to game farming, breeding and selling, they are widely distributed on game farms around South Africa. They have shown that they readily adapt to most habitats.
Habits:
They are highly gregarious and move around in large herds. In previous times they used to trek in herds of thousands. Herds consist of rams and with young lambs and sub adults and bachelor herds (young and old rams). Territorial rams will try and keep herds of ewes in breeding season and defend them against other rams until they move on away from one ram’s territory to graze in another ram’s territory.
Day or night:
Mainly active by day but in some areas also at night
Difference between male and female:
Horns of the ram are clearly larger and thicker especially towards the base. The horns of the ram also have more of a curve inwards than those of ewes. Rams are also a little heavier and more robustly built.
Mass:
Male (Ram): Can weigh up to about 41 Kilograms
Female (Ewe): Can weigh up to about 37 Kilograms
Breeding:
Lambs are born mainly in summer and during the rainy season, from November to February in the northern parts of the country and some during July in Cape areas, but it could often be any time of the year depending on the area or region, availability and supply of food and climate. Newly born lambs are hidden away for a few days under tall grass or shrubs.
Gestation period:
About 24 weeks (168 days)
Lifespan:
Up to 10 years
Diet / Food and water:
They are not water dependent, but will drink water when available. They are mainly grazers, preferring short grass, But also eat herbal shrubs and bushes, leaves and seed pods (of especially camel thorn trees in the Kalahari area), as well as wild fruits young shoots.
Enemies:
Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena, African Wild dog, Jackal, Caracal, Humans.
Interesting Facts:
There are some Springbok that are totally black or totally white. The value of these animals is quite substantial in the private market for trophy hunting.
When disturbed, Sprinbok commence running and bound and leap (repeatedly) into the air with stiff extended legs, while raising the hairs of the dorsal crest extending from the back to the tail (the rams). These bounds may reach 2 to 3 meters and this leaping is known as “pronking”. The springbok is one of South Africa’s most successful game farming animals.
Since the turn of the last century, the Springbok has been and still is the national emblem of the South African Rugby team. The King Protea has been added to the badge during the 1990’s.