Other Names : Kala Hiran, Sasin, Iralai Maan and Krishna Jinka
Speed : Upto 50 mph
Indian black buck is also known by a number of other names like Kala
Hiran, Sasin, Iralai Maan and Krishna Jinka. The scientific name of the
black buck antelope is Antilope cervicapra and it natural habitat is the
Indian subcontinent. Grass forms the staple diet of the blackbucks.
However, they do eat pods, flowers and fruits as supplements. The
average lifespan of the Indian kala hiran is twelve years and at the
maximum, they live for sixteen years. Black bucks are hunted by dogs and
About the Indian Black Buck
The male black bucks grow to a height of 32 inches and weigh somewhere
between 70 and 95 pounds. Their upper part is covered with either dark
brown or black fur. Chest, belly, inner sides of the legs, muzzle and
chin of the males have white fur. Even the eyes are surrounded with
white rings. Male black bucks have ringed horns that are up to 28 inches
in length and twirl with three to four turns. When the male blackbucks
are born, they are light brown in color and as they reach the age of
three, they turn dark brown or black.
Female black bucks are much smaller than their male counterparts. They
are beige or light brown in color and most of the female blackbucks do
not even have horns. Even the few females that have horns lack the rings
and spirals that characterize the male horns. Black bucks have very
sharp eyesight, which, along with their great speed, forms their main
defense against the predators. Female black buck antelopes have a
gestation period of approximately five months. They generally give birth
to two fawns every year, at a gap of six months.
The fawn of black buck spends the first two weeks after his birth in
the grass, between nursing. Only after completing the first two weeks
does the fawn join the group. Indian black bucks seldom live in
isolation, they are found mainly in groups. The groups can be either
those of the females, comprising of 15 to 20 members, mixed groups,
bachelor groups or territorial males. The group of territorial males
dominates all the other groups and inhabits the main grazing areas,
along with the female groups.
Apart from India, black buck is found in parts of Pakistan and Nepal.
Initially in India, the blackbucks were found almost everywhere except
for the northeastern regions. However, today the population of black
bucks has become limited to parts of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and
Gujarat, along with a few areas in the Central India. Blackbucks have
open plains of India as their natural habitat and count amongst the
fastest running animals on earth.
They live on open grasslands, dry thorn and scrublands. Black bucks
were introduced in various parts of the world, including a number of
ranches in Texas, in the United States of America. There are also
free-ranging populations of Indian black bucks in Argentina (Pampas in
southern Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Entre Ríos provinces).
Current status of Black Bucks
Black bucks are included in the list of endangered species in India as
well as Nepal. Two major factors that have contributed to their
declining population are poaching and habitat destruction.
Apart from poaching and habitat destruction, the other threats to
blackbucks include predation, overgrazing, diseases, inbreeding and
hoards of visitors. The flesh and skin of black buck fetches quite a
high price in the market, making the animal extremely vulnerable to
hunting. The species is suffering from inbreeding and at the same time,
there is the wide scale encroachment by the humans. Once found easily in
the plains of North India, they have now being restricted to a few
pockets in the country.
Bollywood actor Salman Khan was convicted for killing a black buck,
while shooting for the film 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'. However, the
conviction was stayed some time later.