Outside the tiny village of Velavadar, the 34-square-kilometre Blackbuck National Park is Gujarat’s own slice of savannah. Bounding through the tall golden grass, however, are not impalas but blackbucks, spiral-horned Indian antelopes of which the park has the country’s highest concentration. Prior to Independence their number stood at eight thousand, but habitat loss and hunting cut this figure down to two hundred by 1966. The park’s blackbuck now number well over three thousand, making it a laudable success story. It is also home to endangered Indian wolves, striped hyenas, nilgai antelope, jackals, jungle cats and Indian foxes, as well as birds of prey like Stoliczka’s bushchat and harrier hawks, at least 1500 of the latter arriving from Siberia each winter.
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