The Bontebok was historically confined to the coastal plain of the Western Cape, South Africa, where overhunting reduced it from locally abundant to the verge of extinction. It was saved from extinction in the mid-19th century by a few Cape farming families who protected the small remnant populations. From a low of less than 20 animals in the original Bontebok National Park (established near Bredasdorp in 1931), the population of this antelope has gradually recovered.
Savanna or grassland in temperate regions
The bontebok is a medium-sized antelope. It's name is derived from the Afrikaans word, bont--meaning brightly colored. This refers to the bontebok's rich glossy chestnut brown color.
They typically stand 31 to 39 inches high at the shoulder and measure 47 to 83 inches along the head and body. The tail can range from 12 to 24 inches. Body mass can vary from 110 to 340 lbs. Males are slightly larger and noticeably heavier than females.
Bontebok have an adult color pattern where the relatively dark dorsal pelage contrasts sharply with high, white stockings and buttocks. Bontebok have a dark and glossy, purplish-brown dorsal pelage and a white patch surrounding the tail. Calves are born with lighter brown pelage and dark faces and are identical in appearance to the young of topi.
Male is larger than female
The horns of bontebok are lyre-shaped and clearly ringed. They are found in both sexes and can reach a length of half a meter.
Bontebok are not good jumpers, but they are very good at crawling under things. Mature males form territories and face down other males
Bontebok are herbivores; they graze on grasses and various herbage.
Bontebok mate in February. Gestation period is eight months. Young are born from August to mid-December. Usually a single young is birthed in high grass and within 2 hours after birth the young can be mobile. Young are weaned in 4 months.
Bontebok are diurnal grazers, spending most of the morning and afternoon grazing, resting during the midday and evening.
17 to 23 years
They are gregarious animals, bontebok are seldom observed in groups larger than ten. They were previously nomadic, migrating among seasonal pastures and forming large herds in fall and winter. Herds are loosely structured and membership is unstable, but adult males do defend females and young in harem troops year round. Bontebok have been observed grunting and snorting, which is used as an alarm response. Males defecate at dung-heaps within their territory to mark domain. 'Challenge Rituals' are interactions observed between neighboring males. Males also display dominance with a variety of postures and behaviors, including standing sideways to an intruder, digging up soil with their horns, foot stamping, and head swinging. Aggressive interactions between males involve horn clashing and can be fatal. Males and females both mark objects with secretions from a preorbital gland, these secretions are deposited on grass stalks as they are stroked with the horns.
IUCN: Least Concern
After their extinction was threatened by excess hunting and the encroachment of agriculture the Bontebok National Park was established in 1931. Bontebok’s numbers are gradually recovering, this subspecies is threatened by hybridization with the much more numerous Blesbok (which has been widely reintroduced, and also introduced outside its former range). Interbreeding has produced numerous hybrids on private land