Facts about this animal
The hair on the body is generally thin, wiry, and somewhat oily. Adult bulls are generally blue-grey, have black legs, and some may be brown-tinged, particularly younger individualy. Cows and calves are pale brown. All have similar dark and white markings on their ears and legs. The skin is thick, particularly on the chest and neck of the bulls, where it forms a dermal shield.
Nilgais are predominantly diurnal although they will rest during part of the day. They segregate into male and female groups except during the breeding season. Bulls do not maintain a fixed territory but defend a space around themselves. Fighting occurs between dominant bulls, and serious injury or death sometimes results. Nilgai make dung piles by defecating repeatedly on the same sites.
Nilgais graze and browse feeding on the leaves and fruit of jujube Zizyphus mauritiana and other trees. They do not drink regularly.
Did you know?
that the nilghai is fairly abundant in India as it is considered sacred by Hindus because of resemblance to the cow, and that the species has been introduced to the US for hunting pirposes where now a feral poulation of 37'000 animals is established on Texas ranches?
|Name (Scientific)||Boselaphus tragocamelus|
|Name (French)||Antilope nilgaut|
|Name (Spanish)||Nilgó, Antilope azul|
|Local names||India: Nil, nilgai, rojh, roz, rojra, rohu|
|CITES Status||Not listed|
|CMS Status||Not listed|
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|Range||Southern Asia: India (Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan down to Karnataka, n Not found in East India and west coast), Nepal, Pakistan. Extinct in Bangladesh.|
|Habitat||Grassland, savannas, open forest and cultivated land.|
|Wild population||More than 100,000 in India, rare in Paklstan, no data from Nepal (Red List IUCN 2011)|
|Zoo population||487 reported to ISIS (2008)|
In the Zoo
How this animal should be transported
For air transport, Container Note 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.
Find this animal on ZooLex
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Why do zoos keep this animal
Nilgais are kept for educational reasons as an example of the megafauna of the Indian subcontinent – they are the largest antelope of Asia – and because of their striking sexual dimorphism. Because they are a large, attractive and diurnal species they make good ambassadors for the conservation of the Southern Asian fauna. For this purpose they are often kept in mixed exhibits with axis or other deer, blackbuck, cranes and peafowl.
Because nilgais are not threatened in the wild, many zoos have chosen to replace them by bantengs in recent years .