A springbok is a small antelope, reddish brown with a pale underside. There is a dark brown stripe on each of their flanks that separates the color of their upperparts from their underside. They have a white head, with a dark brown stripe running from each eye to their upper lip. They have long, narrow, pointed ears. There is a pocket-like flap of skin that goes to their tail from a mid-point on their back. Both males and females have ringed curved, black horns.
Springboks live in south and southwestern Africa, particularly in Namibia, Angola, Botswana and South Africa. They are mostly found in game reserves and on farms in treeless savanna near the edges of dried-up lake beds.
Habits and lifestyle
Springboks are mainly active at dawn and dusk, but may feed throughout the day during cold weather, or sometimes at night when it is very hot. During summer, springboks sleep under trees or bushes in the shade, although they will bed down out in the open when temperatures are cooler. During the mating season, males tend to wander together looking for a mate, while females live in a herd with their young and just a few dominant males. When excited or frightened, a springbok performs a number of vertical stiff-legged jumps up to 3.5m high, with the head down, hooves bunched and an arched back, called “pronking.” These leaps are supposed to distract predators like cheetahs and lions. Springboks used to form very large herds to migrate, with more than 1 million animals together. This was called a "trek" or "trekbokken".
Diet and nutrition
Springboks eat grasses and other vegetation. They eat different things depending on the season: grass when there is water, but plants that are more water rich, such as flowers, when there is not much water available.
These animals are polygynous, one male mating with multiple females. During the mating period, males establish territories, marking them by urinating and creating large piles of dung. There are frequent fights with males from neighboring territories when they try to access the females. Mating usually takes place during the dry season. Gestation lasts for 5 to 6 months and one young is born. For the first day or two the baby stays hidden in long grass or a bush, then with its mother joins a nursery herd. At 6 months of age they are weaned. Females remain with the herd while young males join a herd of bachelor animals. Females are sexually mature when they are one year old and will reproduce every other year. Males are sexual mature at the age of 2.
Springboks are hunted, and traded alive for horns, skin, meat and as taxidermy models. They are hunted as game in Botswana Namibia and South Africa for their beautiful coats, and due to the fact that they are very common, as well as being easy to support where farms have a very low rainfall, meaning that they are also cheap to hunt.
According to the IUCN Red List the total Springbok population size in southern Africa is around 2,000,000-2,500,000 individuals. Currently this species is classifed as Least Concern (LC) and its numbers today are increasing.