Black Buck
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Kala Hiran (Antelope cervicapra L), also called Indian Black Buck Antelope. It has four sub species, they are:

Antelope cervicapra cervicapra
Antelope cervicapra rajputanae
Antelope cervicapra centralis
Antelope cervicapra rupicapra

Habitat: It used to be found all over India except the northeast. Now it is seen in Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal and Haryana. It does not live in dense forest but in open plains. It is one of the fastest animals on earth and can out run any animal over long distances. Open plains, which allows it to move fast, are therefore needed to protect it from predators.

The males darken at maturity and the most dominant male in the herd has a black coat. White highlights the eyes, ears, chin, under parts, and rump. Even fawns have these markings. They are brown but turn tan after about a month. Grown males have ringed horns spiraling in a V at least 33 cm above the head. Record trophies exceed 50 cm. The blackbuck eats mainly grasses. Pods, fruits, and flowers supplement this diet. Their average lifespan is about 12 years, and maximum is 16 years.

The social units of the blackbuck are female groups, mixed groups of both sexes, bachelor groups, and territorial males. Since territorial males monopolize prime grazing, female groups frequent their territories. Each territorial male commands about 3 to 40 acres. Territorialism facilitates breeding by giving the male a clear field for courtship. If a doe tolerates following, the "mating march" changes into circling, with the male in a "nose-up" display. The average interval between births is six months, with gestation comprising approximately five months. The single fawn can be born at any season. Initially, the fawn lies in the grass between nursing sessions. Then it gradually joins the mother's group. Between six months and one year old, increasing harassment from territorial males, plus the zest for sparring, sends young bucks to bachelor groups. Males mature sexually by eighteen months but take about 2 years to reach physical maturity. Females can conceive as young as eight months, although most first-time mothers conceive at around seventeen months. Females mature physically by one year.

Bishnois, a community in Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab, violently protect this species. It is due to their efforts and beliefs that we have still so many of these endangered antelopes in the plains of Haryana and Rajasthan today.

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