Mokala’s multitude of Springbok

The Springbok is by far the most commonly encountered large mammal in Mokala National Park – during our four day stay in April 2018 we had over 200 springbok sightings ranging from solitary rams to enormous herds. Thankfully they are such beautiful animals that one could never tire of them, and the sprinkling of black and copper coated individuals made for fascinating comparisons with the more standard liveried animals.

Our most exhilarating encounter with Mokala’s Springbok was with these two mature rams contesting for ownership of a prime territory right in the middle of the road!

If you’d like to learn more about Mokala National Park, why not have a read through the detailed post we did about the Park in 2016.

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18 thoughts on “Mokala’s multitude of Springbok

  1. Pingback: A rich assortment of animals at Mokala | de Wets Wild

  2. aj vosse

    Gosh Dries, thanks for enlightening me… Black and Copper! Are they just local mutations or is the phenomenon more widespread? Do they interbreed easily?
    That bottom photo… looks like the RH ram is in trouble! Leg break is on the cards!
    Die jakkalse gaan lekker eet! 😉
    Yum… springbok biltong! 🙂

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      You also get a pure white variety of springbok, AJ, though we didn’t see any of those in Mokala.

      The different colour varieties are wide-spread, though more common in game farm populations where there is a certain degree of selective breeding than in purely natural populations. In Mokala the genes for these unusual coats are certainly in common circulation, but all natural (now, at least, as the original stock may have come from game farms to some extent). We saw territorial rams of all three variations, and saw ewes of all colours with lambs of all colours by their side, which just shows that nature will find a way!

      As for the fighters, both combatants walked away from this encounter surprisingly unscathed (though I must admit we were also holding our breaths for a broken leg or neck or a gouged eye as the fight was really intense!)

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  3. kim blades, writer

    Hi guys. I also think springbok are gorgeous antelope and interesting to watch. I must say that I don’t really watch for long when two rams are fighting, in case one of both get hurt. I think I saw copper coloured springbok at Kalahari Gemsbok, but I have never seen a black springbok.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Glad to know we share a love for these beautiful South African icons, Kim! And you should count yourself very lucky for having seen a copper springbok in the Kalahari – it must have been spectacular!

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  4. perdebytjie

    Wat dink jy van al die kleurvariasies wat deesdae geteel word? Jou foto’s is pragtig, veral die ramme wat so veg. Ons was afgelope week in Kruger en die ramme is heeltemal mal. Een het in my niggie se voertuig vasgehardloop en ‘n groot duik veroorsaak. Gelukkig het hy net ‘n kopseer oorgehou.Testosteroon tydens paringsseisoen kan nogal opwindend wees!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Paartyd onder die Wildtuin se rooibokke lei altyd tot n paar noodlottige (vir die rooibok) ongelukke, so ek is regtig bly om te hoor jou niggie se geval het n gelukkiger uiteinde (vir die rooibok) gehad, Dina. Jammer en sterkte vir jou niggie wat die skade aan die versekeraar moet verduidelik…

      Ek het gemengde gevoelens oor die kleurvariasies onder wild. Wanneer dit natuurlik gebeur omdat die resessiewe gene wat daarvoor verantwoordelik is in die bevolking sirkuleer, soos die geval is onder Mokala se springbokke (en die Wildtuin se leeus, met n witte wat af-en-toe sy verskyning maak) is dit vir my verskriklik interessant en word ek vreeslik opgewonde om so n dier raak te loop.

      Maar as dit is as gevolg van n doelbewuste teelprogram waar sulke unieke diere spesifiek met mekaar gepaar word, maak ek sterk kapsie – dit is onnatuurlik en lei ongetwyfeld tot inteling en al die gevolglike negatiewe impakte wat daarmee saam kom vir die individuele diere in die nageslag. En natuurlik is my gevoel dan dat die motief daaragter uiteindelik is dat die dier of sy nageslag gedood gaan word in n winsgedrewe “jagtog” om daarvan n trofee te maak (eerder as jag vir die gebruik van die vleis en vel, waarmee ek nie n probleem het nie solank dit sonder wreedheid plaasvind)

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      1. perdebytjie

        Ek stem heelhartig saam met jou. Baie dankie vir die goeie uitleg van die natuurlike verskyning van kleurvariasies. Ons het so ‘n paar jaar terug ‘n spierwit springbok in die Naukloof in Namibië gesien. Ek het ‘n foto op my blog geplaas…baie swak een.
        Ek verpes ook die teling van die kleurvariasies.

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  5. John

    Very beautiful animal!😊 You have so many animals in South Africa and many antelope. It should be a paradise for me to visit your country with all your nationalparks, I sure never will leave!😁 We have only deer and moose here. But we couldn’t have more because we don´t have any predators anymore, only in north we have wolf, bears wolverine and lynx. Before we have wolfs over the whole country. Because we do not have predators, hunters must shoot a certain number each year, some years they are still too many. Then nature is about it and the animals suffer from diseases to decrease in numbers.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Once Africa is in your blood you’ll never want to leave, John – that is for sure!
      Such a pity that the natural predators have been eradicated from your part of the world – they play such a vital part in the ecosystem, as you’ve said. Sadly here too the large predators are increasingly being confined to the large conservation areas with very few still roaming outside.

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