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Source: The post is based on the article “Study sheds light on how blackbuck survive challenges” published in The Hindu on 11th January 2023
What is the News?
A study conducted by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has shed light on how Blackbuck in India have fared in the face of natural and human-induced challenges to their survival.
What is Blackbuck?
The blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) is also known as the Indian antelope.
Features: Males have corkscrew-shaped horns and black-to-dark brown coats, while females are fawn-coloured.
Distribution: They are found only in the Indian subcontinent. In India, they are mainly seen in three broad clusters across India-northern, southern, and eastern regions.
How has Blackbuck survived in the face of natural and human-induced challenges?
In spite of immense losses in grassland habitats across India, blackbucks seem to have well-adapted to human-altered landscapes and their numbers are beginning to show an upward trend.
Researchers studied how they survived these challenges. They found that an ancestral blackbuck population first split into two groups: the northern and the southern cluster.
Next, the team found that despite all odds, male blackbucks appear to disperse more than expected, thus contributing to gene flow (gene flow is the transfer of genetic material from one population to another) in this species. Females, on the other hand, appear to stay largely within their native population ranges.
This has helped them to survive in a human-dominated landscape.