The Tibetan antelope
藏羚羊) is a medium-sized bovid
which is about in height at the shoulder. It is the sole species
in the genus Pantholops
and is placed in its own subfamily, Pantholopinae. It is native to the Tibetan plateau
including China's Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai
province, and Xinjiang
Autonomous Region; and in Ladakh
, Jammu and Kashmir region of India
. The Tibetan antelope is also known commonly by its Indian English name, chiru
. The coat
is grey to reddish-brown, with a white underside. The males have long, curved-back horns which measure about in length. There are less than 75,000 individuals left in the wild, down from a million 50 years ago.
It was formerly classified in the Antilopinae subfamily
, but morphological and molecular evidence led to separation of the Chiru in the monotypic Pantholopinae
, closely allied to goat-antelopes
of the subfamily Caprinae (Gentry 1992, Gatesy et al.
1992, Ginsberg et al.
Tibetan antelope are gregarious, sometimes congregating in herds hundreds strong. The females migrate up to yearly to calving grounds in the summer where they usually give birth to a single calf, and rejoin the males at the wintering grounds in late autumn (Schaller 1998). Chirus live on the high mountain steppes and semi-desert areas of the Tibetan plateau such as Kekexili
, where they feed on various forb
species. The average life span is about eight......