Black Buck - (Antelope Cervicapra)
¤ Holds A Special Place In
Pick up any of the paintings depicting an Indian sage in meditation,
and you will always find two things: a wise man sitting on a tigers
hide, and an impressive black buck standing nearby. This graceful
antelope has inspired poets and the painters, since the beginning of
civilisation. Today, black bucks are the beloved of the Bishnois,
(tribals who inhabit the Thar Desert) who treat them as their
The average height of a black buck is 80-85cm, and its weighs around
40kg. A beautiful pair of horns adorn the male, and they grow by a
node each year. The male wears a dark brown coat, while that of the
female is a lighter shade of brown. The ventral portion of the belly,
the legs and the chin of both the sexes are white. The black buck
feeds mainly on grass and cereal crops and plays havoc in the villages
near the National Parks.
¤ Behavioral Change
With the onset of the rutting season, the behaviour of the black buck
takes an interesting turn. Suddenly the males become extremely
intolerant of each other. They demarcate their territories by rubbing
a sticky secretion from the glands under their eyes on the leaves of
plants and young shoots. Any intrusion into ones territory is
challenged and dealt with. More often than not, stags can be seen with
their horns locked. The fights are more or less symbolic, and very
rarely do the combatants inflict any serious injury on each other.
Nevertheless, a few cases of death due to the permanent locking of the
horns have been reported. Unable to feed due to locked horns, the poor
stags starve to death.
Another impressive characteristic of the species is its agility. When
chased by its predators, it can clip at a speed of more than 100km per
The gestation period of the black buck is ten months, and the litter
comprises of one or two calves. The young ones are extremely agile and
restless, and the mother has to take great care to look after them.
Females attain maturity faster than males, and are ready to conceive
at the age of four to five.
¤ Facing Danger
The list of the black bucks enemies is long. It forms the
staple diet of almost all the big cats, but its biggest threat comes
from man. It is hunted for its skin and meat. Sometimes stray
dogs form a group and hunt fawns and young black bucks.
Best place for sighting: Bishnoi villages and throughout India,
except the north-east.