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Tibetan antelope

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Tibetan Antelope
Conservation status: Endangered
Missing image
Chiru.jpg



Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Artiodactyla
Family:Bovidae
Subfamily:Antilopinae
Genus:Pantholops
Species:hodgsonii
Binomial name
Pantholops hodgsonii

The Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii), also commonly called the chiru, is a medium sized antelope which is about four feet in height, native to the Tibetan plateau. The coat is grey to reddish-brown, with a white underside. The males have long, curved-back horns which measure about 20 inches in length.

Chirus are gregarious, sometimes congregating in herds hundreds strong. The females migrate 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. Chirus live on the high mountain steppes and semi-desert areas of the Tibetan plateau such as Kekexili, where they feed on various forb and grass species. The average life span is about eight years.

Chirus are listed as endangered, mostly due to poaching for their wool. This wool, known as shahtoosh, is widely considered to be the finest and warmest in the world. The wool can only be obtained by killing the animal; Chiru numbers have dropped accordingly from nearly a million at the turn of the 20th century to less than 75,000 today. The numbers continue to drop yearly.

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