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Rajasthan SA

Rajasthan – Chinkara


Common Name: Indian Gazelle

Local Name: Chinkara (Hindi)

Scientific Name: Gazella bennettii Sykes

Description: Chinkara, India’s most elegant ungulate, is a medium-sized antelope with a sandy or tawny brown coat and long neck, ears, and legs. This slender-bodied antelope has white underparts with a brown tail set in the middle of two white streaks. The color of the antelope’s coat allows it to blend with the grasslands and acts as a cover from predators. The animal features a characteristic white fleck on the forehead, white and dark-colored rufous streaks down the face, and a dark nose bridge. Both the male and female chinkaras have thin lyrate horns, with the males’ horns being annulated, having 10-20 well-formed rings. The horns of the females are comparatively smaller, straighter, and thinner, curving slightly outwards only at the tips.

Distribution: The animal is mainly found in the arid and semi-arid portions of central and western India, especially close to Bishnoi communities. As antelopes from the arid region, chinkaras can live without water for several days, where only moisture from the vegetation sap and dew nourishes them. The Indian Chinkara population was estimated at 100,000 in 2001, with 80,000 chinkaras living in Rajasthan’s Thar Desert alone. Chinkara is also found in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.

Threats: Chinkara is threatened by excessive hunting for meat and trophies, habitat loss due to agricultural and industrial expansion, and predation by free-ranging stray dogs.

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