Blackbuck

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The Blackbuck is a species of antelope only found in India.  They were forced nearly to extinction due to loss of habitat and over hunting. Currently they have a population of around 50,000 located in several game preserves in India. In 1972 India passed the Wildlife Protection Act which banned hunting them. A few celebrities in India have been arrested and jailed for hunting them. The Blackbuck has also been introduced to the United States and Argentina.

The Blackbuck is a smaller animal, with a height of around 29 to 33 inches at the shoulder, a length of around 47 inches. They can weigh between 75 and 99 pounds in the larger males, and 68 to 86 pounds in the females. The females and young are brown with white bellies, and brown on the outer legs. They also have a very distinct lighter band horizontally on their sides. Males are darker, and get darker as they age until they reach a black fur with a white belly and inner legs. The males also have two horns that are spiral and ringed.

Blackbucks live in the open plains and woodlands in groups of roughly 50, with one dominant male. They are extremely fast, and have been clocked at speeds of up to 50 mph. They are grazing ungulates, living mostly on grass, and they require water daily. Their natural predators are primarily wolves and village dogs. In the past they were hunted by the royalty of India with specially trained cheetahs. When the blackbuck spots a predator they take off with a leap high into the air, followed by other smaller leaps. 

 

Due to the population explosion in India the Blackbuck has been vastly reduced in numbers from hunting and loss of habitat to farming and cities.  There has been an introduction of blackbucks to Argentina and the US, mainly in Texas, where they are thriving. The last animal census put more blackbucks in those locations than in all of India.