Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Antelope Species, Kilimanjaro Safaris Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we want to share compelling stories with our guests about as many different species as we can to inspire the conservation of wildlife and nature, so we’re especially excited when we can introduce a new animal species to the park. Now Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests have the opportunity to see springbok, a very interesting species of antelope, when they experience the Kilimanjaro Safaris and the Wild Africa Trek.

We’ve just begun the introduction of the springbok—six adult females and one five-month-old male calf—to our African savanna and thanks to vigilant attention from our animal care team, the springbok are adapting very well to their new habitat. The springbok join more than 300 other animals on the Kilimanjaro Safaris. Other kinds of antelope that guests might spot include the addax, bontebok, bongo, eland, greater kudu, sable antelope, scimitar-horned oryx and white-bearded wildebeest. These are joined by many other animals that are favorites of our guests, including the African elephant, African lion, black and white rhinoceros, giraffe, nile crocodile, ostrich, hippopotamus and zebra.

Did you know?

The name “springbok” is Afrikaans and Dutch (“spring” means “jump,” and “bok” means “antelope” or “goat”).

Springbok, which are found in southern Africa, are approximately 2.4 – 2.9 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh 70 – 100 lbs.

Male springbok are larger than females, and, although both males and females have horns, the males’ horns are thicker and longer.

Springbok can get the water they need from the food they eat, and they can survive without drinking water through the dry season, or even for years.

The springbok has a fold of skin that extends along the middle of its back to its tail and is lighter in color than the rest of its back. When the springbok is frightened by possible predators, the fold opens up and lifts so the lighter hair is displayed almost like a crest along the back.

The springbok displays a behavior called “pronking.” Pronking includes springing up repeatedly with legs stiff and close together, hooves bunched together, and back arched to show off the crest. While the exact cause of this behavior is unknown, springbok exhibit this activity when they are excited.

Springbok, as with all animals, rely heavily on their habitat for survival. Habitat destruction and over hunting threaten the species in the wild. You can help their populations from declining by supporting the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and other conservation organizations that are working to protect African wildlife.

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