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Blesbok

The blesbok is a medium-sized territorial antelope that has come close to extinction. Today, thanks to conservational efforts, it is increasing in the wild and is no longer considered a threatened species.

Threat category according to IUCN
  • Least
    concern
  • Near
    threatened
  • Vulnerable
  • Endangered
  • Critically
    endangered
  • Utdöd
  • Class Mammals (Mammalia)
  • Order Even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla)
  • Family Bovids (Bovidae)
  • Genus Damaliscus
  • Species Damaliscus pygargus
  • Subspecies D.p. phillipsi
Size

The blesbok weighs 60–90 kg.

Ecology

The blesbok is active during the day, although it prefers to rest in the shade during the hottest part of the day. Females and young gather in social groups and the territorial males join them during the mating period. The males mark their territory with dung heaps.

Food habits

Mainly low grasses, but also species of heather.

Life

The blesbok may live for approximately 15 years.

Threat category

Once the blesbok was one of Africa’s most common antelopes. After the 1890s it decreased due to hunting and it eventually disappeared from the wild. The closely related bontebok is very similar. Both species still exist thanks to private ranchers and wildlife farms. The blesbok and the bontebok have been introduced into fenced reserves and farms in South Africa where they are being bred commercially. Today the number of blesboks in South Africa is high enough to allow for regulated hunting.

Reproduction

The female usually gives birth to one calf annually, after a gestation period of 8 months. Unlike other antelopes, the female does not leave the herd when calving.

Did you know?

The blesbok does not jump as high as other antelopes, which makes it relatively easy to keep in zoo enclosures.

The blesbok belongs to the same type (clade) of antelopes as the wildebeest. The wildebeest is known as a grazing migrant who follows the seasons and the fresh grass. The blesbok on the other hand is territorial in a far smaller area.

It has a preference for low grasses. It has been observed eating the special grass species that quickly establish themselves after fires.

Cotton-top tamarin > < Baringo giraff