Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) Rowland Ward minimum: 14"
"Bontebok" is old Dutch for multi-coloured or contrastingly coloured antelope.
The Bontebok is a medium-sized, generally dark brown antelope with a prominent, wide white blaze on its face, with a pure white rump, belly and hocks, and black-tipped tail. Both sexes have horns, although the horns of rams are heavier and longer than those of ewes. Like the blesbok, springbok and blackwildebeest this is a plains antelope, preferring short-grass plains within the vegetation typical of the fynbos plant kingdom.
Gregarious and diurnal. Rams are territorial and during the breeding season will defend a small nursery of two to eight females and their young. Young males congregate in large bachelor herds.
Bontebok was hunted so severely by colonists that in 1830 only 22 remained. Today they are protected in the Bontebok National Park, which was proclaimed in 1931. In 1992 this population grew to 2000. In 1961 a second reserve near Swellendam was proclaimed, which today carries 500-800 bontebok. Historically, the distribution of the bontebok was confined to the south eastern Cape, from where it is now also relocated to other conservation areas outside its original range.