Why is the springbok special?

The springbok is the national animal of South Africa. The name ‘springbok’ comes from the Afrikaans words ‘spring’ which means jumping and ‘bok’ which means antelope or goat. Like the American pronghorn, the springbok is one of the fastest animals on the planet. It can reach a speed of 88 km/h. However, unlike the pronghorn which does not know how to jump, the springbok can leap 2 to 2.7 metres high into the air!

This behaviour of jumping high up in the air and landing back on its feet again is called ‘pronking’. The springbok does this to impress other springbok or to warn predators. A mid-sized antelope weighing between 27-42 kg, these white-faced, slender, long-legged antelopes feed on grass and shrubs. The male springbok is called a buck while the female is called a doe. Interestingly, the springbok can live without water for many years! In some cases springboks have lived without water their whole lives! This is possible because the springbok feeds on succulents, from which it extracts water.

In earlier times a vast number of springboks would migrate together in search of greener pastures. Such a herd would easily comprise a million animals and the trek would take several days to complete. Such treks are called ‘trekbokking’ in the Afrikaans language.

Found in south and southwestern Africa, these springing beauties are the national animal of South Africa. They are featured in the currency and postage of that country. They are hunted as well as reared for their horns, meat and attractive coats. Surprisingly, despite the legalized hunting of this animal, springbok populations are increasing.

Picture Credit : Google

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