“Live” Birth of a Blesbok at BIOPARC Valencia
June 09, 2021
If you visited BIOPARC Valencia in Spain this morning, you might have witnessed one of the most incredible moments in nature. A new life came into the world right before the eyes of visitors to the Park’s Savannah Exhibit. A Blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi) was born to the great surprise and amazement of all present. As if in a "live" documentary, around 11:30 in the morning, one of the females in the herd began to show signs of going into labor. This animal and another of the females were in a reserved area of the enclosure, since the BIOPARC Valencia technical team was watching the evolution of the pregnancy and awaiting the birth. These special precautions are aimed at guaranteeing the welfare of the animals at such a delicate moment.
BIOPARC’s Blesbok group is part of an international breeding program for the preservation of the species and is made up of eight individuals: the reproductive male, four adult females, two young from last year and the newborn. The blesboks coexist in a recreation of the African savannah at BIOPARC with giraffes; peculiar species of birds such as the jabirus, the sacred ibis and the Cape teal; and three other species of antelope: kobos, impalas, and Thomson's gazelles. Blesboks are easily distinguished by the striking white markings on their faces that contrast with the reddish brown of their bodies and by both males and females having long, curved lyre-shaped horns. All this life in the savannah passes under the watchful eye of the lions that observe them from the rocks of the Kopje.
Blesboks are diurnal animals that spend most of the morning and afternoon grazing, and resting at noon and at night. Gestation is about 240 days. They usually have one baby per litter and offspring generally arrive in the last stage of spring in late June or early July. They are included in the red list of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). They were in serious danger of extinction in the 19th century due to widespread hunting, which reduced their population in the wild to only about two thousand individuals. Thanks to conservation efforts, many populations have recovered and today they are in a stable situation.