Chinkaras

chinkara

Scientific name:

Gazella bennetti

About the animal

  • Indian Gazelles are called shy animals as they always act themselves as an alert nature and usually it roams alone in the wild regions.
  • Not very often these species are seen in groups, likely the count would be average in numbers in strength at times.
  • Chinkaras are preyed upon by leopards, Bengal tigers, and dholes. The chinkara was a common prey of the Asiatic cheetah in India alongside blackbucks.
  • Occur in more than 80 protected areas in India, 5 in Pakistan and 9 in Iran. In parts of western India Chinkara are protected by villagers for religious reasons. The species is fully protected by law in India, Pakistan and Iran.
  • The advantage of Gazelles are they can survive a long period without water and their needs of water gets compensated by the dews available in the leaves and plants.
  • In the North Western parts of the Indian country, people called as Bishnoi community protect this animal for their religious reason.
  • Indian Gazelle (Chinkara) is known as the state animal of Rajasthan in India.

Threats

  • Indiscriminate hunting has adversely affected gazelles in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan (hunted for meat and to a lesser degree for trophies). Habitat loss through overgrazing, conversion to agriculture and industrial development is also a factor.

Distribution and habitat

  • Are native to Iran, Pakistan and India
  • Chinkara live in arid plains and hills, deserts, dry scrub and light forests. They inhabit more than 80 protected areas in India
  • In 2001, the Indian chinkara population was estimated at 100,000 with 80,000 living in the Thar Desert.

Gazelles are mainly seen in the below listed National parks in India:

  • Gir National Park
  • Panna National Park
  • Ranthambore National Park
  • Desert National Park
  • Sariska National Park
  • Bandhavgarh National Park

Conservation status

  • IUCN- least concern

Currently in news

  • The Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to establish a wildlife sanctuary at Mudhol taluk in Bagalkot district.
  • The animal fears extinction owing to lack of protection and hunting by local people in the taluk.
  • It is largely found in Mudhol and Badami taluks of north Karnataka region.
  • Chinkaras, which weigh around 30 kg, are largely found in 12 villages of both the taluks. We have not come across such a large concentration anywhere in the State. Thus, it is important to save the animal
  • According to a rough estimate, the district has only around 100 chinkaras, and they need immediate protection from local hunters.
  • The locals have agreed to save the animal. But they want the government to provide them facilities such as LPG connections as they are largely dependent on forest for firewood. They fear that once the areas are declared protected, they will not find firewood
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