Oryx gazella gazella

Scientific Name

Oryx gazella gazella

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

The gemsbok is a large African antelope. In 1969 the New Mexico State Department of Game and Fish decided to introduce Gemsbok to the Tularosa Basin in the United States.

Natural Habitat

Gemsbok is mainly desert-dwelling and do not depend on drinking to supply their physiological water needs, but many of the northern Gemsbok live in open grasslands where water is readily available.

Physical Characteristics

  • Gemsbok is light brownish-grey to tan in color, with lighter patches to the bottom rear of the rump. Their tails are long and black in color. A dark brown stripe extends from the chin down the bottom edge of the neck through the join of the shoulder and leg along the lower flank of each side to the brown section of the rear leg. They have muscular necks and shoulders and their legs have white ‘socks’ with a black patch on the front of both the front legs and both genders have long straight horns.

Quick Facts

  1. They can reach running speeds of up to 56 kilometers per hour (35 mph).

  2. Herds may number 200 or more during the rainy season, with the herd breaking into smaller groups during the dry season.

  3. Gemsbok have excellent eyesight, hearing and smell.



Conservation Status

Least Concern: The Gemsbok is common or abundant and is likely to survive in the wild.

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The Gemsbok is mainly a grazer, feeding mainly on the sparse dry desert grasses. If grass is not available they will browse and dig for roots. They will drink water if available from waterholes and streams but can survive days or even weeks without it.