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Chinkara

Chinkara
Chinkara in the Gir Forest, Gujarat
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Antilopinae
Genus: Gazella
Species: G. bennettii
Binomial name
Gazella bennettii
(Sykes, 1831)

The chinkara, also known as the Indian gazelle, is a gazelle species native to Iran, Pakistan and India. [1]

Contents

  • Characteristics 1
  • Distribution and habitat 2
  • Ecology 3
  • References 4

Characteristics

G. b. fuscifrons of Baluchistan

It stands at 65 cm (26 in) tall and weighs about 23 kg (51 lb). It has a reddish-buff summer coat with smooth, glossy fur. In winter, the white belly and throat fur is in greater contrast. The sides of the face have dark chestnut stripes from the corner of the eye to the muzzle, bordered by white stripes. Its horns reach over 39 cm (15 in).[2]

Distribution and habitat

Chinkara in the Desert National Park, Rajasthan, India

Chinkara live in arid plains and hills, deserts, dry scrub and light forests. They inhabit more than 80 protected areas in India. In Pakistan, they range up to elevations of 1,500 m (4,900 ft). In Iran, they inhabit the Kavir National Park.[3]

In 2001, the Indian chinkara population was estimated at 100,000 with 80,000 living in the Thar Desert. The population in Pakistan is scattered, and has been severely reduced by hunting. Also in Iran, the population is fragmented. In Afghanistan, chinkaras are probably very rare.[3]

Ecology

Chinkaras are shy and avoid human habitation. They can go without water for long periods and can get sufficient fluids from plants and dew. Although most are seen alone, they can sometimes be spotted in groups of up to four animals. They share their habitat with several other herbivores, such as nilgai, blackbuck, chausingha, wild goats, and wild pigs.

Chinkaras mate once a year. Males compete for access to females.

Chinkaras are preyed upon by leopards, Bengal tigers, and dholes. The chinkara was a common prey of the Asiatic cheetah in India alongside blackbucks. Outside protected areas they may be attacked by pariah dogs, and both wolves and golden jackals are also known to hunt them.

References

  1. ^ a b Mallon, D. P. (2008). "Gazella bennettii".  
  2. ^ Prater, S. H. (1971). The Book of Indian Animals. Oxford University Press, 2005 reprint.
  3. ^ a b Mallon, D. P. and S. C. Kingswood (eds.) (2001). Antelopes. Part 4: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Global Survey and Regional Action Plans, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
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