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Bontebok or blesbok?

23 May 2013

As a result of its historical, geographic distribution it is not surprising that the bontebok Damaliscus pygargus pygargus was described scientifically before the blesbok became known to science. The primary habitat of the bontebok was fynbos interspersed with grassland along the southern Cape coast while the blesbok preferred the inland sour grasslands. Although there are isolated mentions in the Eastern Cape to blesbok occurring south of the Winterberg Mountains, this was most likely temporary excursions in times of good rainfall. In the Western Cape the bontebok was historically limited to the region between Riversdale and just west of Caledon which were 60 to 200 m above sea level and received from 300 to 700 mm of rain per year. The closest blesbok population occurred some 250 km eastwards in the interior near Grahamstown. Both the blesbok and bontebok are primarily short grass feeders in regions where water is readily available. There is no English name for either of these two types of antelope and they are simply known by their Afrikaans names which have a Dutch origin. These names refer to their external appearance... (To read and see more become a Green subscriber)

 

References:

Cloete, P C 2012. Tendense van lewendewild-verkope 2012. Game & Hunt 19(2): 51 - 55.

Oberem, P. 2011. Co-operation, value-adding ‘key venison production’. Game & Hunt 17(6): 69 - 71.

Skead, C J 2007. Historical incidence of the larger land mammals in the broader Eastern Cape, second edition. Port Elizabeth: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

Skead, C J 2011. Historical incidence of the larger land mammals in the broader Northern and Western Cape, second edition. Port Elizabeth: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

Skinner J D & C T Chimimba, (Eds) 2005. The mammals of the southern African subregion, third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 653 - 658.

Van Wyk, A M, A Kotzé, E Randi & D L Dalton 2013. A hybrid dilemma: a molecular investigation of South African bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) and blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi). Conservation Genetics DOI 10.1007/s10592-013-0448-0.

By: Prof J du P Bothma

 

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