Temporal range: Late Pleistocene – Present
|An artist's illustration of Hippotragus leucophaeus|
| †Hippotragus leucophaeus|
The Bluebuck or Blue Antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus), sometimes called Blaubok, is an extinct species of antelope, the first large African mammal to disappear in historic times. It is related to the Roan Antelope and Sable Antelope, but slightly smaller than either. It lived in the southwestern coastal region of South Africa savannahs, but was more widespread during the last glacial. It was probably a selective feeder, preferring high-quality grasses.
Europeans encountered the Bluebuck in the 17th century, but it was already uncommon by then. European settlers hunted it avidly, despite its flesh being distasteful, while converting its habitat to agriculture. The Bluebuck became extinct around 1800. There are only four mounted specimens – in museums in Vienna, Stockholm, Paris, and Leiden – along with some bones and horns elsewhere. None of the museum specimens show a blue colour, which may have derived from a mixture of black and yellow hairs.
The bluebuck also looked similar to other species in the antelope family. It had two medium-length sweeping horns, no mane, and a darker coat on top with a white underbelly. The bluebuck lived in the southwestern coastal area of South Africa. This delicate antelope may have preferred blossoms to bushes: The particular grasslands that this species inhabited were—and are today—some of the most biologically rich lands on the planet, and the plant life is colored by an abundance of flowers, mostly of the daisy family.
Size and Weight
Total length: 250–300 cm (8.2–9.8 ft) (bull); 230–280 cm (7.5–9.2 ft) (cow)
Shoulder height: 100–120 cm (3.3–3.9 ft)
Skull length: 396 mm (15.6 in)
Horn length: 50–61 cm (20–24 in)
Body mass: 160 kg (350 lb)
In the Media
The bluebuck appeared in the popular expansion pack of Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals.