February 16, 2017
- as seen by -Ricardo Antunes
As I drive along a dusty road in Namibia’s Etosha National Park, I notice a small herd of antelope in the distance. As I approach them quietly, the unmistakable tan coats, long and heavily grooved horns, and striking black and white face masks reveal that I am in the presence of gemsbok, or as they are also called, the southern oryx.
Gemsbok live in the deserts, scrubland, and brushland of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, and are truly adapted to harsh dry conditions such as those in Etosha. They are able to extract all the moisture they require from the vegetation they eat and survive for most of the year without drinking water.
I stop the car and notice two young males that have separated from the rest of the herd and are parading side by side. Suddenly, they stop, face each other, and slam their heads together. As the animals duel in the desert dust, I am fascinated by symmetry of their face masks when their heads clash. After a few shots, I capture the striking pattern created by the jostling heads.