This study aimed to identify some of the physiological mechanisms that enable gemsbok to live in regions where drinking water may be saline or non-existent. The response of captive male gemsbok to fresh and 1,8% saline drinking water and dehydration was assessed seasonally by the measurement of body fluid compartments, renal function, some blood variables, food and water intake, energy assimilation and faecal variables. Fewer significant differences in the variables measured were found in animals acclimated to saline water than in those that were dehydrated. Seasonality also influenced the physiology of the species. Gemsbok were more tolerant of dehydration than many other species and in this context may be considered arid adapted. It is concluded that 1,8% saline drinking water is less stressful than dehydration.
Dissertation (MSc (Zoology))--University of Pretoria, 1990.