Oryx / Gemsbok (Oryx gazella)

Conservation Status

Least Concern (LC)

Physical Description

Heavy built horse-like antelope with thick neck. Distinct black facial and body markings; with black forehead, nasal stripe, and tear lines, and black horizontal stripe above white belly and black upper legs. The rest of upper body is uniform grey with a long black tail. Both males and females sport long, straight to slightly curved horns.
Weight males 240kg, females 210kg
Size shoulder height 1.2m
Lifespan (wild) 9-15 years
Lifespan (captivity) 25 years


Gregarious nomadic species, however older animals can become solitary wanderers. Herds can number from 15 to over 400 depending on food availability.

Social and Reproduction

Highly gregarious species

Mating System Polygamy (Polgyny)
Breeding interval About every 9 months.
Breeding season No fixed season, depending on water availability.
Gestation 264 days
Number of offspring single calves are born in summer months, but can also occur in winter months depending on food availability. Calves will be hidden for about 3-6 weeks before they are strong enough to move with the herd.

Habitat and Food


Open dry country, but also found in woodland, grassland, and open dunes; oryx do occur where water is not readily available.


Mainly grazers but also browse, eating seed pods and fruits such as tsama melons.


Leopards, lions, spotted hyena are dominant predators of adults. Juveniles can fall victim to jackal, cheetah and caracal.

Conservation Challenges

Oryx are sometimes seen as a pest on farms in dry regions and are prone to destroy fence lines when crossing. They are also a highly targeted species for meat poaching operations.

Naankuse Solutions

No solutions are undertaken at the moment. Orphaned calves are taken in and raised, rehabilitated, and released back into the wild.


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Oryx / Gemsbok at Naankuse sites