Antidorcas euchore: The Springbok of South Africa
Antidorcas euchore is a synonym for Antidorcas marsupialis, the scientific name of the springbok, a medium-sized antelope native to south and southwest Africa. The springbok is the only living member of the genus Antidorcas, and has three subspecies: A. m. angolensis, A. m. hofmeyri, and A. m. marsupialis. The springbok is the national animal of South Africa.
The springbok has a slender, long-legged body, with a white face, a dark stripe running from the eyes to the mouth, a light-brown coat marked by a reddish-brown stripe that runs from the upper fore leg to the buttocks across the flanks, and a white rump flap. The springbok has a pair of black horns that curve backwards, measuring 35 to 50 cm (14 to 20 in) in length. The springbok can reach 71 to 86 cm (28 to 34 in) at the shoulder and weigh between 27 and 42 kg (60 and 93 lb).
The springbok is active mainly at dawn and dusk, and forms mixed-sex herds called harems. The springbok is known for its remarkable behaviour of pronking, in which it leaps into the air with a stiff-legged posture, arching its back and lifting its white rump flap. This display may serve as a way of communicating with other springboks, avoiding predators, or expressing excitement.
The springbok is primarily a browser, feeding on shrubs and succulents. The springbok can survive without drinking water for years, obtaining moisture from its food. The springbok breeds year-round, with peaks in the rainy season. The gestation period lasts five to six months, after which a single calf is born. The calf is weaned at nearly six months of age, and leaves its mother a few months later.
The springbok inhabits the dry areas of south and southwestern Africa, such as the Kalahari desert and the Karoo. The springbok is classified as a least concern species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), as it has an expanding population and faces no major threats. The springbok is a popular game animal, and is valued for its meat and skin.
The springbok has a long history of interaction with humans. The springbok was an important source of food and clothing for the indigenous San people, who also used its horns and skin for making tools and musical instruments. The springbok was also revered as a symbol of vitality and fertility, and featured in rock paintings and engravings. The springbok was hunted by European settlers, who introduced fences and livestock that reduced its habitat and migration routes. The springbok population declined drastically in the 19th and 20th centuries, but recovered after conservation measures were implemented.
The springbok is a cultural icon of South Africa. The springbok is the emblem of several sports teams, such as the national rugby union team, the Springboks. The springbok is also depicted on the coat of arms of South Africa, and on several coins and stamps. The springbok is admired for its beauty, grace, and resilience, and represents the spirit of the nation.