THE BLACK BUCK

The Black Buck is an endangered antelope found only in India and Nepal. This graceful and beautiful animal is found roaming in the plains of India except the western coast of India. Nowadays, in India this animal is found in many national parks of India like Guindy National Park, Point Calimere and Vellandu Sanctuaries of Tamil Nadu, Rollapadu of Andhra Pradesh, few parts of Rajasthan and Haryana.

THE BLACK BUCK FACTS

Scientific Name Antilope cervicapra 
SpeciesM. ursinus
Local NameKala Hiran, Sasin, Iralai Maan and Krishna Jinka.
DietHerbivore
StatusNear Threatened
LifestyleSolitary or in small group of four
Lifespan12 years
Top speed50 to 80 km/h

Physical Characteristics: This beautiful animal is covered with dark brown or black, sleek fur. The chest, belly, muzzle and chin of the males are covered in white fur. They eyes of the males are covered in white rings. The males have ringed horns that grow up to about 28 inches in length. They weigh about 70 to 95 pounds and grow up to a height of about 32 inches. The females are much smaller than their male counterparts. The females also have horns but they are not ringed or spiraled. They have very good eyesight and are also very fast runners, which comprise its main defense against predators.

Habit and Habitat: The black buck mostly lives in open grasslands, dry scrub areas, thinly forested areas. They are generally seen in the area where there are good sources of water all the year round. `Blackbucks cannot sustain cold climate. Hence, they are mostly found in the desert areas of Rajasthan and coastal areas. It is also found at the foothills of the Himalayas where climate is moderate and jungles are not very dense. In India, they are found predominantly in the states of Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana. They are considered as one of the fastest running animals on earth.

The black bucks are active during the day and their activities generally slow down with the onset of noon. They generally move in herds. The size of the herd depends upon the availability of forage and natural habitat. The size of the herd can go from 3 to 23 individuals. The male attains maturity at the age of 3 while the female attains maturity at the age of two. The mating season lasts from August to October and from March to April. The females can give birth two times in a year.

Diet: Blackbuck is a herbivorous animal. They are grazers of grasses. They love feeding on sedges, fall witch grass, mesquite, live oak etc., They also love the leaves of acacia tree. In summer, blackbucks have low protein intake and their overall consumption of food is low. They feed upon the fruits of Prosopis juliflora and hence play an acute role in the dispersal of their fruits. Water is an indispensable part of their life as unlike Chinkaras, they cannot live without them.

Predators: Wolf, Hyena, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Pythons, Wild Pigs, Feral Dogs.

Threats: Before the independence of India, Blackbucks were extensively hunted in the princely states of India due to which their population has been declining continuously. This resulted in the extinction of this species in many parts of India also. These animals are hunted for their skin. Poachers have made this species of animal a main target from the 20th century.

Conservation: The IUCN List has declared this species as Nearly Threatened. Hunting of blackbuck is prohibited under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Many national Parks have taken firm steps in the conservation of this species. They include the following:

  1. Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary (Bihar)
  2. Gir Forest National Park.
  3. Velavadar Wildlife Sanctuary (Gujarat)
  4. Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary (Karnataka)
  5. Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary (Maharashtra)
  6. National Chambal Sanctuary
  7. Ranthambhore National Park
  8. Tal Chhapar Sanctuary
  9. Guindy National Park
  10. Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary
  11. Vallanadu Wildlife Sanctuary (Tamil Nadu).

Natural Resources Conservation outside Protected Areas (NRCOPA) scheme in Ganjam district of Orissa launched the Bhetonai – Balipadar project to protect Black Bucks. The NRCOPA is a Central Government Scheme for bio diversity conservation through community efforts.

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