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The beauty of the antelope kingdom and the quintessential antelope of India - the Blackbuck are one of the original inhabitants of the Coromandal coast. They are animals of open grasslands dotted with bushes and scrub jungles. Blackbuck are quite well known for their speed (70 miles per hour). When the Cheetah became extinct in India, there are virtually no predators for the Blackbuck. However, their declining numbers in India shows that the problem lies elsewhere.

At the beginning of twentienth century, thousands of blackbuck could be seen in the valleys and open grasslands of India. Due to heavy poaching and habitat loss, blackbuck populations have been decimated and now exist in very few areas in India. Blackbuck have been listed as an endangered species and is included in Schedule I of Indian Wildlife Act.

Blackbuck graze on herbs and grass unique to dry, decidous areas. After the rains they prefer to graze on the fresh shoots of grass and herbs. In summer months they survive on fallen fruits, leaves and flowers mostly They are known to survive in water scarce conditions. They are seen either in groups of 7-10 with one male member or the single male doing his solitary sojourn in selected spots. A mature female is generally the group leader. A male blackbuck has a coat similar to the female until he attains sexual maturity in about 3 years. Females attain maturity when they are 18 months old. The gestation period is about 5 months and the doe gives birth to one fawn at a time.

The first one week in a fawn's life is very critical as it lies down most of the time hidden in tall grass or bushes. The mother nurses the fawn in this hidden area. For this reason it is necessary to have patches of scrub jungles or tall grass. These areas should not be disturbed in a blackbuck habitat. Similarly, the male buck marks its territory on small twigs and branches using the glands below his eyes. Also, they make dung piles to mark their geographical territory.

Male Blackbuck seen in IIT Campus have lighter shades than the usual black shades found in the northern parts of India. Blackbuck population in the campus is very low (less than 20). These animals are on the verge of disappearance from this campus due to habitat loss. Read about the status of blackbuck in IITM and what you can do to protect them.

What do these animals eat?

Here is an extensive list of plants eaten by the blackbuck in the Indian subcontinent. Where to look for these animals in IIT?

The open area adjacent to Gurunath, various stadia, road sides, quadrangles of department buildings,etc.

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