Gazelle / Chinkara
( Gazella gazella)
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
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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