Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Endemic to the Indian subcontinent, the Chousingha or four horned antelope is found in dry deciduous forests across the country. It is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.
We were out on our regular Sunday bird-watching trip, 70 kms outside Pune city when we stumbled on this Chousingha or Four-horned Antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis) on 22nd May 2016 at 6:50 AM.
Arriving at a road section where the hills were clothed in scrub jungle, we decided to explore the area on foot. We saw something like a Chinkara (Indian Gazelle) take a couple of jumps and run behind a small hill in a matter of seconds. Sandip was quick to conclude it was a Chinkara, as it moved gracefully with its beautiful orange coat. We cautiously crossed the small hill and took cover besides a bush, and finally got to observe the shy animal properly.
Endemic to the Indian subcontinent (India and Nepal), The Chousingha or Four-horned Antelope is India’s smallest Bovid. It is found in dry deciduous forests and is currently listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.
At present, there is little scientific information available on the four-horned antelope and the habitat variables that influence its occurrence. Here is a summary of an interesting paper on the species.
One of the major threats for the species hase been the loss of its natural habitat due to agricultural expansion and development. Also, the four-horned skull has been a popular target for trophy hunters, leading to decimation of this unique species in many areas. In India, the species is protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).