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Animals: BLESBOK

 
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Blesbok - Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi
           
 
 
Habitat requirements    
The Blesbok originally occurred only in the fire climax grassland over the entire Highveld.  It has since been introduced far beyond its historic distribution range.  Sweet grass and water are, however, essential habitat requirements
 
Food preference    

Blesbok are highly selective grazers.  They prefer sprouting grasss, which appear after a burn and will move to a burned area even before sprouting grasses have started to appear.  Blesbok avoid grasses with more than one season’s growth.  Prefereed grass speciies include Themeda triandra, Eragrostis curfvula, Eragrostis pseudosclearantha  as well as Setaria spp

 
Water requirements    
Blesbok are water dependant and utilises approximately 3 litres per day.
 
Minimum viable group size    
10
 
Sex ratio    
Three males for every seven females
 
Herd population growth per annum    
32 percent
 
Life span    

11 years

The fact that blesbok avoid grasses with more than one season’s growth serves to demonstrate the importance of a burning regime. It must however be noted that large areas must be burned at a time in order to prevent over-utlisation of these areas. Burning more than one section at any one time would prevent overgrazing in these burned areas. Blesbok are known to be highly selective  grazers. In areas that are burned infrequently, blesbok will select only the most palatable grasses.