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TONY CAMACHO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TONY CAMACHO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Adult Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) licking the anus region of its calf. Shortly after birth, during the concealment period, the young animal's scent glands are not active and the calf does not defecate at will. This constraint however enables the calf to be hidden and avoid detection from predators.In order to enable the calf to perform it's natural bodily functions, the mother frequently licks the calf's anal region to stimulate suckling, urination, and defecation, which is a critical part of the development of the calf. A single young Springbok is born after a 6 month gestation period. Females and their calves often form a nursery herd, which moves behind the larger herd. In so doing it benefits from the early warning of the more alert adults without caretaking responsibilities and distractions. This gazelle-like antelope inhabits the open dry plains of southern Africa, feeding on grass, leaves and shoots. Filmed in the Auob riverbed of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, southern Africa.
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