Another introduction

Not satisfied with introducing various deer species in Texas, the great state of hunters also decided to introduce antelope.  Sure, Texas has pronghorns (Antilocapra americana), but they’re not antelopes.  So in 1932 the state began establishing free-ranging herds of blackbucks (a.k.a. Indian antelope; Antilope cervicapra).

A young male blackbuck (a.k.a. Indian antelope; Antilope cervicapra) walking through a field (2009_05_22_019975)

Native to Pakistan and India, the introduction of blackbucks didn’t go as well as it did with chitals (a.k.a. cheetal, chital deer, spotted deer, or axis deer; Axis axis) and fallow deer (Dama dama).  It would seem the far-from-home antelope is a lot more sensitive to Texas threats.

A mature male blackbuck (a.k.a. Indian antelope; Antilope cervicapra) standing in grass (2009_05_22_020923)

Cold weather keeps them from the northern and western parts of the state, parasitism keeps them out of the east and coyotes keep them out of the south.  What started as a statewide release turned into a population confined to the middle of the state, mostly around the Edwards Plateau region.

A male blackbuck (a.k.a. Indian antelope; Antilope cervicapra) grazing in a field (2009_05_22_019978)

Despite the challenges, there are now more blackbucks in Texas than in their native homeland.  And of all the exotic species introduced here, only chitals outnumber blackbucks.

Close-up of a female blackbuck (a.k.a. Indian antelope; Antilope cervicapra) (2009_05_22_020930)

If you watch them long enough, you learn the evolutionary advantage of the long horns.

A young male blackbuck (a.k.a. Indian antelope; Antilope cervicapra) scratching his hindquarters with his horn (2009_05_22_019983)

They’re for scratching those hard-to-reach places.

[this is our last full day in México; Preciliano and I have had a fantastic time; his family impressed me beyond words, just as the sights and experiences have done; overindulgence probably best defines the last week, but vacations are meant for excess; though I must admit I need to buy a “get well soon” card for my liver after what I’ve put it through; tomorrow it’s back to Dallas and back to being responsible; well, at least back to Dallas]

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