SIDEBAR

The leaping Blackbucks of Tal Chapar

Oct 17 2013

 

 

 

In so many visits to Tal Chapar, I’ve been rather partial to the feathered bipeds (read Birds) over the ubiquitous horned quadrupeds (read Blackbucks) that stroll this beautiful grassland. May be their sheer numbers in the park lulls one into forgetting the fact that they are declining everywhere else. So it was decided – this time around I would give more attention to these graceful antelopes.

The first morning at Tal Chapar was very cloudy, a possible hangover from the late rains this year. Some parts of the park were still unmotorable. Seeing some Kestrels (small falcons) in the distance, we parked the car at one place and walked by the wet safari track. Incidentally, this track also runs by a colony of male Blackbucks. Many of these beautiful mammals dotted the landscape all around.

Blackbucks at Tal Chapar

Blackbucks at Tal Chapar

 

As we walked around, one of the Blackbucks decided to cross the road in front of us. As it reached the road, it broke out into a quick stride followed by a run and some amazing leaps.

Blackbuck Leaping

Blackbuck taking off

Blackbuck Leaping

Blackbuck airborne. It’s an amazing experience to see the animal so high in the air!

Blackbuck - Pausing

Blackbuck pauses to gauge if the “danger” is real.

Blackbuck at Tal Chapar

Reassured and relaxed, the Blackbuck decides to take a stroll.

 

Being in the grass may give the Blackbucks a sense of security. The bare safari path might look like a dangerous territory to be in, especially with people around. I guess that might spur them into escape mode, and they calm down as soon as they reach “safe zone” again.

 

A few facts about Blackbucks:

  • The repeated leaping behaviour of Blackbucks is called stotting. It is believed to be a signal to the predator that the animal is healthy and not worth being chased. Of course, the main predator of the Blackbuck – the Asiatic Cheetah – went extinct about 6 decades ago. Today, wolves and jackals (that hunt fawns) are the chief predators, apart from man and feral dogs.
  • Blackbucks are the fastest land mammals in India. They can clock speeds upto 80 kmph!
  • Blackbucks are declining over most of their range and are classified as Near Threatened. In Tal Chapar, however, their number seems to have trebled over the past decade owing to some amazing conservation work by the Forest Department.
  • Blackbucks are antelopes, not deer. How does one differentiate an antelope from a deer? Do write your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Here’s a few more images of an airborne female Blackbuck from that morning.

Female Blackbuck jumping - Imagine the height of the grass!

Female Blackbuck jumping – Imagine the height of the grass!

Blackbuck from Tal Chapar

Another high leap!

  1. Vinod Krishna 

    Wow!!! It’s beautiful to be in a grassland. The endless tall grasses that hides one of the most beautiful antelope you will set ur eyes on.
    Being in a forest is like being part of Nature but being in a grassland is something else; u feel more closer, closer to everything that calls it home. I Miss the grassland already.

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  3. niranjan sant 

    well nice images. i would like to add that i had read somewhere that these antelopes jumps to show the prime form he or she is in and at the same time by leaping they can see much further for any predator hiding in grass.
    well most basic difference in the deer and antelope is, deers have branched antlers where as antelopes have non branched,straight horns. deers shed the antlers every year where as antelope horns are permanent. antelopes have glands near the eye,which is used by males to mark territory.etc etc

    • Shreeram 

      Thanks Niranjan for the points on visibility of predators and the differences between deer and antelopes.

  4. srinivas patil 

    Nimma parisar pritige hemmeya abimanada abinandanegalu sir.sarthakateya hejjegalu viswakke nemmadiyannuntumadali.suba haryakegalu sir.

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