Blackbuck - Indian Antelope

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 11, 2022, 7:41

The blackbuck, otherwise called the Indian Antelope, is native to Nepal and India. They are the fastest animals on earth, second only to the cheetah. They inhabit grassy plains and forested areas with permanent water resources. As per the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, this animal has been categorized under the Schedule-I species, and as per the IUCN Red Data Book, they are of least concern.

Some Interesting Facts about the Blackbuck

  • The blackbuck is the state animal for the Indian states of Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, and Haryana.
  • It is well known for its spiral horns and coat colour differences.
  • Some blackbuck-friendly national parks and sanctuaries can be found in India, including the Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary in Karnataka, the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, the Velavadar Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat, and so on.
  • The Uttar Pradesh government has taken the step to create a wildlife conservation area in the Prayagrajs trans-Yamuna region. It would be one-of-its-kind in the world.
  • As per the latest census, the population of blackbuck in the Indian state of Odisha has increased by 100% in the last six years, raising the numbers to 7,358.
  • The biggest threat to blackbucks is feral horses. However, capturing and relocating the latter is a costly affair and quite questionable too.

The Cultural Significance of the Blackbuck

  • The cultural connection to the blackbuck dates back to the Harappan era.
  • Also, as per Hindu mythology, the blackbuck is supposed to be the chariot/vehicle of the God of Wind (Vayu) and the Moon God.
  • Goddess Karni Mata is believed to be the protector of the blackbuck.

The Reason Behind the Changing Population of the Blackbuck

The depleting numbers of the blackbuck in the last three centuries has been due to the hunting regime of kings and colonials across the subcontinent. When India gained independence, there were estimated to be 80,000 blackbucks in the country. However, by the end of the 1970s, the number dropped down to 30,000.

With the initiatives undertaken as per the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, these numbers have increased dramatically in several regions of the north and central India.

These increased numbers have compelled the IUCN to change the status of the blackbuck from Vulnerable to Least Concerned in 2017.

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FAQs on Blackbuck

Q1. Which is the first-ever conservation reserve for blackbucks in India?

Ans: The first-ever conservation reserve for blackbucks is coming up in the city of Allahabad, in Uttar Pradesh, sprawling over 126 hectares in the trans-Yamuna region.

Q2. What is the scientific name of the blackbuck?

Ans: The scientific name of the blackbuck is Antilope Cervicapra.

Q3. Was actor Salman Khan arrested in a blackbuck case?

Ans: Yes, Bollywood actor Salman Khan was convicted for hunting down a blackbuck, in Jodhpur, in 1998 while shooting for his film Hum Saath Saath Hain.

Q4. Are blackbucks a menace to agriculture?

Ans: Yes, an abundance of blackbucks is a menace to agriculture as they destroy the crops in the fields.