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Black Buck National Park, Bhavnagar

Black Buck National Park : Wildlife Blackbuck N.P. Velavadar in the Bhal region of Saurashtra is a unique grassland ecosystem that has attracted fame for the successful conservation of the blackbuck, the wold and the lesser florican. Once found in open plains throughout the country and the state of Gujarat, its largest population at present occurs in Velavadar N.P. This exclusively Indian animal is perhaps the most graceful and beautiful of its kind. It has ringed horns that have a spiral twist of three to fours turns and are up to 70 cm long. The body's upper parts are black and the underparts and a ring around the eyes are white. The light brown female is usually hornless. When the rut (mating season) reaches a peak, one dominant male establishes dominance and it's a sight to see him strut around with its head held high with the horns almost touching its back. After six months the mated females each bear one fawn, which are very well camouflaged in the grasslands. The fawn joints the herd along with the mother and remains with here for more than a year.The fastes of the Indian Antelopes, they move-off in a series amazing leaps and bound when threatened, and then break into a lighting run. The resultant picture is that of a graceful and experienced dancer whose form and grace can cast a spell on the beholder. The wold and the jackals are the main predators in the park. Wolves here use shrub land for lying-up, denning and for rendezvous and depend on blackbuck, hare and other small animals as their prey. Another rare sight is that of the lesser florican who migrate here and settle here be breed in the grasslands. After arrival, the male bird marks the territory and displays to attract the female. The courtship display of the male is a spectacular vertical leap up to a hight of two meters and may display over 500 times in a day ! Velavadar is also an excellent place to see a large number of harriers. The Park is very rich in other birdlife as well. A word of praise would not be out of place for the Kathi community, who like the Bishnoi community of Rajasthan have protected the blackbuck with vigour and zeal, as it is associated with their past history of valor and religious practices. Such communities are the real strength of wildlife protection in Gujarat.

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