The animal on the cover of Even Faster Web Sites is a blackbuck antelope (Antilope
cervicapra), an endangered species found mainly in India, also known as the Indian
antelope. The V-shaped horns of the male blackbuck are ringed with several spiral
twists and can be as long as 28 inches. The male’s upper body is black or dark brown,
and its belly and the rings around its eyes are white. The female is light brown and does
not normally have a horn. Blackbucks roam the plains in herds of 15 to 20, feeding on
grasses, flowers, and fruits. On the open plain, the blackbuck is one of the fastest animals
on earth, able to reach speeds of 45 mph and outrun most predators over long
From the 18th through the early 20th centuries, the blackbuck antelope was the most
hunted wild animal in India. In 1932, several species of Indian deer and antelope, including
the blackbuck, were introduced to Texas for hunting and breeding. Today,
these species live on private hunting ranches and roam the surrounding hill country.
They are so plentiful—having multiplied to 19,000 throughout the state—that many
have been shipped to India to repopulate the native habitat.
Now protected in India by the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the blackbuck population
is steady at 50,000 native animals, plus 43,000 descended from Texas and other
populations. Although poaching is still a problem and humans have encroached on its
land, its protected status gained attention in 2006 when Indian film star Salman Khan
was sentenced to five years in jail for killing two blackbucks. According to Hindu
mythology, the blackbuck is considered to be the vehicle of the moon god, Chandrama,
and is believed to bestow prosperity wherever it lives.