As far as sanctuaries go, Velavadar is the sweetest one. It is home to Blackbucks, beautiful members of the deer family.
But don’t let the gentle beauty of Blackbucks fool you. They always take home the silver medal in running events clocking speeds of 80 kmph (50 miles per hour). Only the Cheetah pips them to the post.
Velavadar has the highest concentration of the endangered Blackbuck anywhere.
I happened to call upon the Blackbucks during their peak fawning period of March – April (the other being September – October). When the males are not mating, they are locking horns to get the women for themselves.
More than a pair were spotted fighting by me. Each male has its territories, but we know how politics works. But do they really need to spar? It seemed there were more than enough females going around for all. But then again, men will be men.
The male blackbucks sport horns; the younger ones have a brown coat that get blacker as they mature. No racist talks here. Females are brown. And they all like to live as large herds. Any room in the harem?
The open grasslands of Velavadar suits the blackbucks just fine. They have a life span of up to 15 years, can be 120 cm long with shoulder heights of 73-83 cm and weigh between 32-42 kilos.
I could have looked at Blackbucks for hours. Even they would not stop looking at me – curious about the Martian in their land. But a single step in their direction, and they would flee.
Ajay Jain is currently on the Great Arabian Sea Drive, starting from Delhi and following the coastline all the way from Gujarat down to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Follow all updates on:
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