oa Madoqua - Intersexual dominance and differential mortality of Gemsbok Oryx gazella at Namib Desert waterholes

Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-5498



Observations of gemsbok, Oryx gazella, were made in the Kuiseb River canyon of the Namib Desert. Adults individually contest one another for the right to drink from shallow water wells they dig in the sands of the dry river course. These waterholes are initiated at the dry bottom of open pools after seasonal flooding has passed and the open water dries up. A temporary linear hierarchy is established at each waterhole, allowing adult males to exclude adult females. A combination of flood and water shortage resulted in heavy mortality with a loss of all calves and a disproportionate mortality to adult females during one year of observations.

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