21 minutes ago
Suddenly, out of nowhere, as if by magic seven shapes appear in the distance. Soon, five more join these. As I focus, the shapes take form and turn into four-legged creatures with horns. “Gowa,” I whisper under my breath.
The male Tibetan gazelles have beautiful, backward curving horns that reveal their identity from afar, females lack these. These gazelles are on the brink of extinction, with less than 200 individuals left in the wild in India. They move seasonally across the India-China border in both Ladakh and Sikkim.
The species is so rare and it is now confined to the rolling mountain slopes of Hanle in Changthang plateau and the Chan Chenmo Valley in eastern Ladakh; as well as a small pocket in northern Sikkim along the international border with China. Scientists involved in wildlife conservation have adopted several measures to save such species from extinction. It is strictly protected from hunting and poaching. Captive breeding is also done and then the animals are introduced to the wild.