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Blackbuck
Grey wolf
Garden lizard
List of mammals
Blackbuck National Park lies close to the Gulf of Khambhat in western Gujarat and covers just 34 square kilometres of arid grassland and scrub. It was established in 1976 to provide protection for the blackbuck, the males of which had been relentlessly overhunted as a trophy animal because of their beautiful spiralled horns. Blackbuck also used to be found in Nepal and Pakistan but were wiped-out by the hunters - attempts have since been made to reintroduce them there. Since the 1970s, blackbuck numbers have more than doubled to an estimated 50,000 individuals and the species is now classified as Near Threatened in conservation terms.

We visited the Blackbuck National Park during the main rutting season, and the males spent a lot of time scenting the air to see which females were receptive. Youngsters and females are a sandy colour, whereas males get darker each year until they are chocolate brown or almost black. The animals seem to be breeding successfully in the Park and have started dispersing out into the surrounding farmland (which could bring them into conflict with humans).
Blackbuck
Blackbuck herd  Blackbuck scenting the air
Blackbuck Blackbuck
Blackbuck
Leucistic blackbuck

Apologies for the pixellated photograph, but this unusual male was quite far away. We saw him on two visits to the Park. He has apparently been there for some time, so his 
leucism
doesn't seem to make him any more vulnerable to predation than the darker males.
Albino blackbuck

Grey wolf

An unexpected bonus at Blackbuck National Park was an encounter with grey wolves. Two packs are resident in the Park, and they prey on the blackbuck without any noticeable impact on their numbers. As you might expect in such a warm climate, Indian grey wolves are less stocky and well-furred than their North American,  European and northern Asian cousins. Wolves used to be found across the whole of India but have been wiped-out in most areas through persecution by humans.
Grey wolf

Garden lizard

This lizard was catching insects on a tree near the visitor centre.


Full list of mammals seen at Blackbuck National Park:

Blackbuck
Nilgai or blue bull
Wild boar
Grey wolf
Jungle cat
Northern palm squirrel
Flying fox (fruit bat) (at our hotel)

Garden lizard

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Last updated 16 March 2008