The gemsbok or gemsbuck (Oryx gazella) is a large African antelope, of the Oryx genus. The name is derived from the Dutch name of the male chamois, Gemsbok. Although there are some superficial similarities in appearance (especially in the colour of the face area), the chamois and the oryx are not related.
Gemsbok are light brownish-grey to tan in colour, with lighter patches to the bottom rear of the rump. Their tails are long and black in colour.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. Gemsbok live in herds of about 10-40 animals, which consist of a dominant male, a few non-dominant males, and females. Gemsbok are about 1,4 Metres at the shoulder and males can weigh between 230-250kg while females weigh 200-210kg
There are two "types" of gemsbok: a northern and southern variety. The only difference being that the northern gemsboks have black-fringed ears while the southern ones have longer horns and more rounded ears. Southern Gemsbok are more numerous and live in the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa, while the northern variant can be found in Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya and parts of northern Namibia in the Khomas Hochland area.
Gemsbok are widely hunted in Africa for their spectactular horns that average 85cm in length, these horns are perfectly straight on males and extend from the base of the skull to a slight outward and rearward angle. Females have longer thinner horns that have a slight outward and rearward curve in addition to their angle. The only difference between Males and Females is their horns, many hunters mistake females for males each year and Gemsbok are one of the few antelope species where female trophies are sometimes more desirable than male ones.
In 1969 the New Mexico State Department of Game and Fish decided to introduce Gemsbok to the Tularosa Basin in the United States. The introduction was a compromise between those who wanted to preserve nature and those who wanted to use it for profit and promotion. 93 were released from 1969 to 1977. The current population is estimated to be 3000.