During their visit to Morocco, Shambu and Shanti observed a pair of Dorcas Gazelles in the desert. Find out more about these antelopes in this edition of Shambu’s Wildshots.
Dorcas Gazelles are the second-smallest species of gazelles in the world.
They belong to a group of hoofed mammals called antelopes.
Dorcas gazelles used to be widespread across North Africa and the Arabian peninsula, but due to hunting and habitat loss, their range has shrunk to limited populations, from Mauritania in the west to the Red Sea in the east.
In spite of the reduction in population, the dorcas gazelle remains the most abundant species of Saharan antelopes.
Being extremely fast on their feet, they can easily run at speeds of 50 km/hr, which is the average speed of a two-wheeler on Indian roads. Some gazelles have been known to run as fast as 90 km/hr.
Their primary predators in the wild are hyenas and cheetahs.
These gazelles have adapted to live in areas without plentiful water sources. They can obtain the water they need from the plants they eat. Their fur is reflective and light-coloured so that they stay cool.
They are active at night and around dawn, when it’s cool and there’s dew on plants. They avoid venturing out in the heat of the day.
They can tolerate higher than normal body temperatures, and can even cool down by panting if it gets too hot.
Read more about Shambu’s adventure in Seal and Steal in Tinkle 778 W4!