AskDefine | Define blackbuck

Dictionary Definition

blackbuck n : common Indian antelope with a dark back and spiral horns [syn: black buck, Antilope cervicapra]

Extensive Definition

Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) is a species of antelope found mainly in India, but also in parts of Pakistan and Nepal. There are also introduced populations in various parts of the world including numerous ranches in Texas in the United States of America; free-ranging populations also exist in Argentina (pampas in southern Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Entre Ríos provinces).
Local names for the species include Kala hiran, Sasin, Iralai Maan and Krishna Jinka. It is often simply called "Indian antelope" though this term might also be used for other Antilopinae from the region.


The horns of the Blackbuck are ringed with 1 to 4 turns, rarely more than 4 turns, and can be as long as 28 inches. A trophy Blackbuck is 18+ inches. In the male, the upper body is black (dark brown), and the belly and eye rings are white. The light-brown female is usually hornless. Blackbucks usually roam the plains in herds of 15 to 20 animals with one dominant male.
There are four subspecies or geographic races
  • Antilope cervicapra cervicapra
  • Antilope cervicapra rajputanae
  • Antilope cervicapra centralis
  • Antilope cervicapra rupicapra

Native habitat

Originally spread over large tracts of India (except in North East India). Today the Blackbuck population is confined to areas in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat with a few small pockets in Central India. Its original habitat is open plain and not dense jungles. On the open plain, the Blackbuck is one of the fastest animals and can outrun most predators over long distances.
The diet of the Blackbuck consists mostly of grasses, although it does eat pods, flowers and fruits to supplement its diet. The maximum life span recorded is 16 years and the average is 12 years.


The main threats to the species are
  • Poaching
  • Predation
  • Habitat destruction
  • Overgrazing
  • Diseases
  • Inbreeding
  • Visitors
The Blackbuck is hunted for its flesh and its skin. Although Indian law strictly prohibits the hunting of these endangered animals, there are still occasional incidents of poaching. The remaining populations are under threat from inbreeding. The natural habitat of the Blackbuck is being encroached upon by man's need for arable land and grazing ground for domesticated cattle. Exposure to domesticated cattle also renders the Blackbuck exposed to bovine diseases. Once large herds freely roamed in the plains of North India, where they thrive best, but no longer. During the eighteenth, nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries, Blackbuck was the most hunted wild animal all over India. Until India's independence, many princely states used to hunt this antelope and the other local Indian gazelle, the Chinkara with specially trained pet Asiatic Cheetah. With their habitat of vast grasslands converted into farmlands due to human population explosion the Asiatic Cheetahs are now sadly extinct in India since its independence and in most of Asia, the very last few fight for survival in Iran. Fortunately the population is still stable with 50,000 native individuals, with an additional 43,000 introduced individuals to Texas and Argentina, the species could be seen in zoos.



According to the Hindu mythology Blackbuck or Krishna Jinka is considered as the vehicle (vahana) of the Moon-god or Chandrama.


The blackbuck, known as Krishna Jinka in Telugu language, has been declared the state animal of Andhra Pradesh.As per Garuda Purana of Hindu Mythology, Krishna Jinka bestows prosperity in the areas where they live.
Like most wild animals, the Blackbuck is in principle protected in India by the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Its protected status has gained publicity through a widely reported court case in which one of India's leading film stars, Mr. Salman Khan, was sentenced to five years imprisonment for killing two black bucks and several endangered chinkaras. The arrest was prompted by intense protests from the Bishnoi ethnic group, which holds animals and trees sacred, and on whose land the hunting had taken place.
In the past hunting of Blackbuck with the help of trained Asiatic Cheetahs was a sport much enjoyed by the Indian Royalty.
Several species of Indian deer and antelope were brought to the United States, specifically Texas, during the early part of the 20th century for the purpose of hunting and breeding. Some of these included Blackbuck, Axis Deer, or Chital Deer as they are called in India, Barasingha, and Nilgai. These species, plus many others, can now be found on private hunting ranches and freely roaming the Hill Country and surroundings areas in Texas. Game ranch raised blackbucks are so thriving and plentiful that specimens were shipped from Texas to India in order to repopulate certain areas. In 2007, a blackbuck hunt in U.S.A. for a male trophy ranged in price from $750 - $2,500 USD depending on quality and outfitter.



  • Database entry includes justification for why this species is near threatened
blackbuck in Czech: Antilopa jelení
blackbuck in German: Hirschziegenantilope
blackbuck in Modern Greek (1453-): Αντιλόπη
blackbuck in Spanish: Antilope cervicapra
blackbuck in French: Antilope cervicapra
blackbuck in Italian: Antilope cervicapra
blackbuck in Georgian: გარნა
blackbuck in Latin: Antilope cervicapra
blackbuck in Lithuanian: Elniaožė gazelė
blackbuck in Hungarian: Indiai antilop
blackbuck in Malayalam: കൃഷ്ണമൃഗം
blackbuck in Dutch: Indische antilope
blackbuck in Japanese: ブラックバック
blackbuck in Norwegian: Hjorteantilope
blackbuck in Polish: Garna
blackbuck in Russian: Гарна
blackbuck in Finnish: Besoaariantilooppi
blackbuck in Chinese: 印度黑羚
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