Blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi) Rowland Ward minimum: 16 1/2"
Physically, rams and ewes are remarkably similar. Their mass can be as much as 180 lbs. A characteristic of the blesbok is the prominent white blaze on the face and a horizontal brown strip which divides this blaze above the eyes. Its name stems from this - "bles" being the Afrikaans word for blaze.
Body colour is brown with a lighter coloured saddle on the back, and the rump an even lighter shade. The legs are brown with a white patch behind the top part of the front legs. Lower legs whitish. Both sexes carry horns, ringed almost to the tip. Female horns are slightly more slender.
The Blesbok is a grazing species, showing preference for short grass, and particularly favours fresh green grass appearing after a veld burn.
The Blesbok is closely related to the Bontebok. Historically the distributions of these two species did not overlap. Interbreeding on lands where both subspecies are now located has been recorded. Prefered habitat is open grasslands with water.
The Blesbok's distribution is restricted to the Republic of South Africa. Its historic range includes the Eastern Cape, Free State, southern parts of the former Transvaal, marginally in KwaZulu-Natal along the upper reaches of the Tugela River and into Lesotho, west of the Maluti Mountains. Recently, population numbers have recovered dramatically due to vigorous conservation in game reserves and farms. Today they are commonly found on enclosed land in smaller herds, and numbers are estimated at 150,000.