Blesbok

Blesbok Natural History

Size

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.

Age

This species can live for up to 17 years.

Diet

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.

Threats

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.

Interesting facts

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 Blesbok in early 2020.  Jerky has settled in well and is affectionately known by many visitors as our honorary third giraffe! He can be seen grazing in our large African Savannah alongside Robin and Reudi our Rothschild’s giraffes and occasionally inside their house.