So, I’ve also decided to start posting blog entries dedicated solely to antelopes, my personal favorites in the animal kingdom. Hope you guys like it!

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Easily recognisable by their straight, sharp horns and vivid face markings, these antelopes truly embody the African spirit. They are fierce warriors by antelope standards, and put their horns to effective use against predators as well as one another.

Because of their aggressive behaviour, even lions are wary when hunting them. Many an inexperienced lion has felt the wrath of a raging gemsbok and been gored to death. Gemsbok young also fall prey to cheetahs, leopards and hyenas. However, Gemsbok mothers are relentless when it comes to protecting their young and these predators tackle them at their own risks.(Watch link below to find out more)

Females have longer, thinner horns and thus, are sometimes mistaken for males by trophy hunters. Gemsbok horns are also sometimes made into shofars for Jewish religious purposes.

The name “Gemsbok” is said to have originated from the Boers, meaning ‘chamois’ because of their similar facial markings to the European goat-sheep species, the Chamois. Despite this, the Gemsbok and the Chamois are not related.

The Gemsbok is a large antelope belonging to the subfamily Hippotraginae which in Greek means “horse goats”. This subfamily also includes the Addax, Sable and Roan antelopes. Unsurprisingly, the Gemsbok, sometimes also known as oryx, has a thick neck with a short mane and a compact, muscular body. Gemsboks are hardy antelopes and can go without water for extended periods. They are usually found in the arid regions of Southern Africa, such as the Kalahari Desert, but can also be found inhabiting light open woodland.

Because of their still stable population, they have are not in danger of extinction, yet. They are also thriving following an introduction programme to the Tularosa Basin in the United States because of the absence of their natural predators.

Nevertheless, despite being listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN, it is feared that the Gemsbok would follow the footsteps of its cousins, the Scimitar Horned Oryx and the Arabian Oryx, towards extinction in the wild. We have a better chance of not letting this happen simply because the generation now has a better understanding of the flaws of uncontrolled trophy hunting as well as human encroachment, which have wiped out its cousins in their natural habitats.

JV.

Here’s a video for you guys to enjoy as well!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz1rGmY2c_s

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