Real springbok cushion. Size 40 x 40 cm.
The springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) is a medium-sized brown and white antelope-gazelle of southwestern Africa. The coat colouring consists of a pattern of white, reddish/tan and dark brown. Their backs are tan-coloured and they are white beneath, with a dark brown stripe extending along each side from the shoulder to inside the thigh. The tail is white with a black tuft at the tip. The common name “springbok” comes from the Dutch words spring ‘jump’ and bok, a male antelope or goat.
Springbok inhabit the dry inland areas of south and southwestern Africa. Their range extends from the northwestern part of South Africa through the Kalahari desert into Namibia and Botswana. Springbok occur in numbers of up to 2,500,000 in South Africa; it is the most plentiful antelope. Springboks are extremely fast and can reach speeds of 100 km/h (62 mph) and can leap 4 m (13 feet) through the air.
The springbok is the national animal of South Africa and the national rugby team is called the Springboks. The springbok was a national symbol of South Africa under white minority rule and appeared on the Coat of Arms.
Part of the Latin name for springbok “marsupium” means pocket and is derived from a pocket-like skin flap which extends along the middle of the back from the tail onwards. Lifting the flap causes the long white hairs under the tail to stand up in a conspicuous fan shape, which in turn emits a strong scent of sweat. When the male springbok is showing off his strength to attract a mate, or to ward off predators, he starts off in a stiff-legged trot, jumping up into the air with an arched back every few paces and lifting the flap along his back.