Sunday, January 22, 2012

A visitor from India

There are many "Exotic Game Ranches" in Texas that import animals from around the world to be hunted. One of the more prolific imports into south Texas is an antelope from India and Pakistan called Nilgai. Nilgai are the largest species of Asian antelope, with mature males reaching 600 pounds. As has happened with so many of the imports, Nilgai escaped captivity and became feral animals in surrounding lands. Many National Wildlife Refuge tracts in south Texas now sport herds of Nilgai, and Teri and I have seen over 100 in less than two weeks of survey work.

While Nilgai do not seem to be as destructive as the feral hogs that also occupy the refuge, there is a concern that hundreds of these large animals are consuming vast amounts of grass, and may be displacing or competing with native species. At this time, the only control measures are a few public hunts held on refuge property, but success rates are low as the Nilgai are pretty wary. Most of our looks have been at animals retreating quickly in the distance, they are fast!!

We have seen many mature males, which are call Blue Bulls in India. The males get dark as they mature, becoming almost black, or dark blue. Young males, females and calves are brown. We enjoy seeing them, and have been assured that we'll see dozens each time we visit Bahia Grande to do our point count there. So far we've seen 70 the first week and 54 the second. So stay tuned for more pictures as our surveys continue!


  1. We never did get to see them while we were in Texas. Earn says they look like they were designed by a committee! Lol

  2. They do seem to have an odd collection of parts and pieces! We didn't see any last year, so I guess this will be our Year of the Nilgai. I think that the refuge tracts that we are surveying are the population centers of these guys.