Nilgai ( Boselaphus tragocamelus )

The nilgai ( Boselaphus tragocamelus ), usually only briefly referred to as Nilgau, is an Asian antelope.


With a shoulder height of 140 cm and a weight of 300 kg, the Nilgau is a very large antelope. The males are on average one-fifth larger than the females. Only the males have horns; these measure about 20 cm and are short and pike -like. The coat is whitish gray on the upper side and lower side. Only a tuft of elongated hairs on the throat and the tip of the tail are black. The males have a bluish sheen in the coat.


Today the Nilgau is largely confined to India and southeastern Pakistan. In Bangladesh, it was eradicated in Nepal is due to habitat destruction become rare. It still happens in Suklaphanta National Wildlife Refuge, which is directly adjacent to the border with India. Only by bone finds, we know that this antelope up in historical time still occurred in West Asia and Egypt; there they died out about 500 BC, for an unknown reason.

The preferred habitat is forests.

Way of life

Older males are solitary; in contrast, form females and juveniles herds of about ten animals. Younger males form their own associations or organizations to close the females. Search the mating season the males, the groups of females and distribute where appropriate present there other males. Often, this results in ritualized fighting, when the necks are braced against each other. Serious fights with the horns are rare. A male tried each several females to collect himself and mate with them.

People and nilgai

In Hinduism, the Nilgau was classified because of their similarity with domestic cattle as a close relative of the "Holy Cow " and was therefore not exposed to any long persecution. Since 1900, stocks have declined but mainly by habitat destruction. The population numbers in India are estimated by the IUCN to 100,000, in Pakistan they are significantly lower. In the 1930s, nilgai in southern Texas have been suspended and have there become so rampant that their population numbers are estimated at 37,000. The species is not endangered.


The name Nilgau is composed of nil, the Hindi word for " blue", and gau, which may be a distortion of the English cow ( " cow " ), because in Hindi means the animal नीलगाई ( nilgai ) and gai means " cow ". In English, there is also the name blue buck ( " blue tick" ). In German, however, another antelope from the group of horses goats is called Blue Bock.

The scientific name Boselaphus tragocamelus alludes to the appearance of Nilgau, which seems to combine features of different ungulates. In the Name of the words stuck bos ( Latin for " cow " ), elaphos ( Greek " Hirsch" ), tragos ( Greek " goat " ) and kamelos ( Greek " camel ").