Gemsbok, or South African Oryx, or Beisa Oryx

Oryx gazella

The Gemsbok lives in wooded grasslands as well as wetter grasslands in southern east Africa, though formerly the range included South Africa.

Gemsbok is the largest of the Oryx species and can survive in areas with limited water supply: dunes, rocky mountainous areas, and arid habitats. Plants growing in these arid areas have also adapted to the hot, dry conditions and either store water or have mechanisms to prevent excess loss. In this way, when eating these plants, the gemsbok gets both water and food. Well adapted to the conditions of their hot, arid habitats, oryx can live as long as 20 years.

Gemsbok live in herds of a few dozen animals, which consist of a dominant male, a few non-dominant males, and females. Male gemsbok have been known to gore attacking lions with their long, ringed horns.

The picture of this Gemsbok was taken at the zoo of Berlin, Germany, in September 2005.

Genus Oryx
Subfamily Hippotraginae
Family Bovidae
Order Artiodactyla
Subclass Eutheria
Class Mammalia
Subphylum Vertebrata
Phylum Chordata
Kingdom Animalia
Life on Earth