A recent study conducted by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has shed light on how blackbuck in India has fared in the face of natural and human-induced challenges to their survival.

 

Details

  • Researchers found that an ancestral blackbuck population first split into two groups — the northern and the southern cluster. The eastern cluster even though geographically close to the northern cluster seems to have emerged from the southern cluster.
  • The study shows that despite all odds, male blackbuck appears to disperse more than expected, thus contributing to gene flow in this species.
  • Females, on the other hand, appear to stay largely within their native population ranges, which the researchers inferred from unique mitochondrial signatures in each population.
  • The data also showed an increasing trend in blackbuck population numbers as compared to the recent past.

 

About the blackbuck

  • It is a species of antelope native to India and Nepal.
  • While males have corkscrew-shaped horns and black-to-dark brown coats, the females are fawn-coloured.
  • The animals are mainly seen in three broad clusters across India the northern, southern, and eastern regions.
  • It is widespread in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and other areas throughout peninsular India.
  • Protection status —
      • IUCN Red List: Least concerned.
      • Wildlife Protection Act of 1972: Schedule I
      • CITES: Appendix III
  • Protected areas in India —
      • Gir National Park, Gujarat
      • Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary, Bihar
      • Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
      • Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
      • Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary, Karnataka
      • Vallanadu Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu