Blesbok Natural History
Blesbok reach a height of 1 meter (to the shoulder) and weight up to 80 kg.
Habitat and Distribution
These antelope inhabit the open plains of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Eswatini.
This species can live for up to 17 years.
They are herbivorous grazers which feed on primarily on short grasses.
Groups and Breeding
The majority of Blesbok are now found on private farmland. Males will fight for access to females. After mating females give birth to a single young following a gestation period of 8 months. Young can walk within half an hour and will follow their mothers. They are weaned around four months of age.
Blesbok have been hunted for their skin, meat and horns throughout the years and were verging on extinction in the 19th century. After protective measures were put into place their numbers increased and they are now listed as Least Concern by the IUCN’s Red List of Endangered Species despite hybridisation with the closely related, Bontebok and severe fragmentation across their range.
Their name comes from the word ‘bles’ which means ‘blaze’ in Afrikaan’s and refers to the wide white stripe down their face.
The Blesbok During Your Day Out in Kent
We became home to three Blesbok in early 2020. Their names are Monty, Jerky and Lefou and they can be seen grazing in our large African Savannah.