Photographer's Note

Taal Chhapar Black - Buck Sanctuary

Located in the fringe of the Great Indian Thar Desert is nesteled a unique refuge of the most elegant entelope encountered in India “The Black-Buck”. Taal Chapar Sanctuary with almost flat track and interspersed shallow low lying areas has open grassland with scattered Acacia and Prosopis trees which give it an appearance of a typical Savanna. The word “Taal” means plane land.

History :
During the British rule , Taal Chhapar was managed as a private hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Bikaner. It was managed as “Shikargah” and ample protection and facilities were provided so as to attract and maintain a sizeable population of wild animals in the area. After independence Tal Chhapar was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary in the year 1962 to accord proper protection to Black Bucks and other animals and birds inhabiting this area.the present area of the Sanctuary is 719 ha.
It is pleasure to encounter herds of Black Bucks and large flocks of Demoiselle Cranes in the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is being managed under a managed plan.

Flora & Fauna :
The forest of this region falls under major group “Tropical Forest”
as per classifications of Indian forests by Champion & Seth. The forest of Sanctuary area again falls under Group “Tropical Thorn Forest” .
Animal : Taal Chhapar Sanctuary has a small area and the animals frequently encountered are the Desert fox, Jungle cat, Black Naked Hare, Neelgai, Jackal, Chinkara etc. with Black Buck being the main herbivore.
Black Buck: Taal Chhapar wildlife sanctuary is a unique sanctuary having a good population of Black Buck in a small area of 719 ha. The sanctuary houses nearly 1700 Black Bucks and one can easily encounter 500-700 animals in a single herd.
The upper part of mature male Blackbuck has black fur on rump and white fur on the chest belly, chin and inner side of there legs. They have white rings around their eyes and have long ringed spiral horns with three to four turns which reaches upto 28 inches. The males are light brown and turn black after three years. Female Blackbuck are smaller light brown , do not have horns.

Social Structure:
Black Bucks are usually seen in herds of 25-30, but in summer months large herds of 500-700 can also been seen. The leadership of the herd is generally vested in an old and vigilant female . Black Bucks are found in all female groups and mixed groups.

Birth & Offspring:
Females reach sexual maturity between the ages of 19 to 23 months whereas the males attain sexual maturity in three years. During the mating season the males hold their nose up, placing their horns parallel to their back , to attract the females. Female Black Bucks take care of their fawns of about five months. Gestation period of black buck is 150 days & age is about 10-12 yrs. Young male Black Buck join bachelor groups when they are between six months and one year of age due to harassment by territorial males. Young females stay with their mother for up to a year.
The another main attraction of the sanctuary are different types of migratory birds. Over 100 number of species of birds found in the sanctuary . i.e. Herones , Kites , Eagles , Vultures , Peafowl , Sandgrouse , Bee-eater , Babbler , Kingfisher , Shrike , Black winged Stilt , Sunbird etc. Fairly large flocks Demoiselle Crane varying there numbers 1500-2500 can be seen inhabiting this sanctuary every winter by staying till mid of March. It is a regular visitor of the sanctuary.
There are certain reptile species found in the sanctuary area. The most common reptile species are common Lizard , Monitor Lizard , Spinytailed Lizard , Cobra Chameleon etc.

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