Springbok

Springbok

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Subfamily
Tribe
Genus
SPECIES
Antidorcas marsupialis
Population size
2-2,5 mln
Life Span
10 yrs
TOP SPEED
88 km/h
WEIGHT
30-48 kg
HEIGHT
72-75 cm
LENGTH
120-150 cm

The 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 upper parts 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.

Distribution

Springbok 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. Their range extends from northwestern South Africa through the Kalahari desert into Namibia and Botswana. They are widespread across Namibia and the vast grasslands of the Free State and the shrublands of Karoo in South Africa; however, they are confined to the Namib Desert in Angola. The historic range of springbok stretched across the dry grasslands, bushlands, and shrublands of southwestern and southern Africa; springbok migrated sporadically in southern parts of the range.

Springbok habitat map

Geography

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Springbok 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 2 m (6 ft 7 in) high, with the head down, hooves bunched and an arched back, called “pronking.” These leaps are supposed to distract predators like cheetahs and lions. Springbok used to form very large herds to migrate, with more than 1 million animals together. This was called a "trek" or "trekbokking".

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

These herbivorous antelope are primarily browsers and may switch to grazing occasionally. They feed on shrubs, young succulents, and grasses. Springbok can live without drinking water for years, and in extreme cases, they do not drink any water over the course of their lives. They may accomplish this by selecting flowers, seeds, and leaves of shrubs before dawn when the food items are most succulent.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
during the dry season
PREGNANCY DURATION
5-6 months
BABY CARRYING
1 calf
INDEPENDENT AGE
6 months
FEMALE NAME
doe
MALE NAME
buck
BABY NAME
calf

Springbok 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 start to breed when they are one year old and will reproduce every other year. Males are reproductively mature at the age of 2.

Population

Population threats

Springboks are hunted and traded alive for horns, skin, meat, and as taxidermy models. They are hunted as a 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 very low rainfall, meaning that they are also cheap to hunt.

Population number

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 classified as Least Concern (LC) and its numbers today are increasing.

References

1. Springbok Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springbok
2. Springbok on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/1676/0

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