A young gemsbok calf was recently left behind after a game auction and we were contacted by the auctioneers to collect the young animal. No details were given about its origin or what happened to it family group. As our reserve is not suited to the release of gemsbok we will source a suitable release site and relocate it to an area where the animals occur naturally. In the meantime the animal is doing fine, but needs to go to a permanent home asap.
Gemsbok or Oryx were traditionally found in the north-western and western parts of South Africa, which is the Northern Cape, Kalahari, North West and Western Cape.
In the present day, due to commercial game farming and through breeding and selling, they occur throughout South Africa on game farms. There are no Gemsbok in the Kruger National Park, but they can be seen in a number of other parks especially in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The animals prefer dry areas, open savannah and desert grassland.
They are gregarious and occur in medium to large breeding herds (mixed bulls, cows and calves), herds consisting of bulls only (bachelor herds) as well as territorial bulls. Both Bulls and cows have horns. The bulls have horns that are more symmetrical and thicker towards the base and the cows often have longer horns, although thinner and often asymmetrical. Bulls are heavier and of stockier build than cows. Males (Bull) weigh in at around 240 Kilograms and Females (Cow) at about 210 Kilograms
Gemsbok reach sexual maturity after about two years. Usually one calf is born after which calf is hidden away (in tall grass or shrubs) from the herd for up to 6 weeks. The cow visits often to let the calf suckle. After the period of about six weeks the calf is introduced to the herd. Their gestation period is approximately 264 Days and they can live between 15 – 19 years.
They are mainly grazers (grass eaters) but also eat pods of especially the Camel thorn (Acacia erioloba), small shrubs and bushes. They also dig up roots and bulbs to eat, from which they get moisture and thus do not need water often. Their natural enemies are mainly lion, leopard and hyena, but many gemsbok are killed by man in trophy and biltong hunts.