African antelopes, blesbok, are so-called as “bles” in Afrikaans means “blaze” and refers to the very broad white stripe down the animals’ faces. Blesbok can live to around 17 years of age and their greatest threat in the wild is from predation by big cats, hyena and jackals. Surprisingly, they aren’t accomplished jumpers like many other antelope species, but have been seen to crawl underneath fences instead.
Blesbok give birth to one calf which then, unusually, stays alongside its mother at all times. Most other species would hide the youngster in the undergrowth to prevent it becoming a meal for a hungry big cat. They are often warned about the proximity of predators by the males in the group which grunt and snort an early warning to the rest of the herd. During the cold, dry months, blesbok often form large groups of up to 650 individuals.
The blesbok at Blackpool Zoo share a paddock with the giraffes and are fed on horse and pony pellets, hay and vegetables.