Indian Gazelle / Chinkara
( Gazella gazella)

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This animal is at the other end of the spectrum from the Blue bull. This is the smallest asiatic antelope. It grows to a height of 65 cms and weighs up to a mere 25 kgs. Most males have very short horns, although some grow to a length of 25 - 30 cms. These gazelles are found mostly in open woodlands and scrublands. Their numbers have dwindled to a large extent and they feature on the endangered list. They have a life expectancy of 12 - 15 years, which too is shorter than that of most of its cousins. Their diet consist of all kinds of vegetation. Although their favourite food is lush grass and many types of fruit.

Some of the more well endowed specimens can have horns that grow up to 30 cms.

They have a special characteristic which helps them survive trying times. They can go without water for long periods and can even get sufficient fluids from plants and dew drops. Although mostly seen as solitary animals, they can sometimes be spotted in small groups numbering up to 3 - 4 individuals. They don't have any specific breeding period although it is mostly concentrated around autumn and spring. They have a gestation period of 5 and a half months.

Due to their ability to survive without large sources of water, their habits can vary from one place to another

Certain researchers consider the decline in the Chinkara population as the reason behind the Cheetah getting extinct in India. Due to their ability to do without large sources of water, their ideal habitat ranges over varied regions of different topography. The male members of this species is known to be territorial and do not wander large distances like some of their cousins.

They portray a very hyper and nervous appearance due to the constant wagging of their tail or very frequent glances around to check for approaching danger.

The Cinkara gazelle can be seen in various parks across India but the best wildlife parks in which to look out for this animal are Gir, Panna, Ranthambore and the Desert National Park.

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