The Tibetan Gazelle also called Goa is a species of antelope that inhabits the Tibetan Plateau.
Tibetan Gazelles are relatively small antelopes , slender and graceful bodies. Both males and females stand 21-26 inches tall at the shoulder, measure 36-41 inches in head-to-body length and weigh 13-16kg. Males have long tapering, ridged horns, reaching lengths of 10-13 inches. The horns are positioned close together on the forehead, and rise more or less vertically until they suddenly diverge towards the tips. The females do not have horns, and neither sex has distinct facial markings.
They are greyish-brown over most of their bodies, with their summer coats being noticeably greyer, in colour, than their winter ones. They have short black-tipped tails in the centre of the heart-shaped rump patch. Their fur lacks an undercoat, consisting of long guard-hairs only. They appear to have excellent senses, including eye-sight an hearing. Their thin and long legs enhance their running skills, which is required to escape from predators.
The Tibetan Gazelles are native to the Tibetan Plateau and are widely spread throughout the region, inhabiting terrain between 3,000 and 5,700 metres in elevation. They are almost restricted to the Chinese provinces of Gansu, Xinjiang, Tibet and Qinghai.
Unlike other ungulates, they do not form large herds and are typically found in small family groups. Most groups contain no more than 10 individuals and many are solitary. They have been noted to give short “cries” and “calls” to alert the herd on approach of a predator or other perceived threat. Their main local threat is the wolf. They feed on a range of local vegetation, primarily legumes, supplemented by relatively small amounts of grasses and sedges.
For much of the year the sexes remain separated, with the females grazing in the higher altitude terrain than the males. The females descend from their high pasture around September, prior to the mating season in December. Gestation lasts around 6 months, with a single young being born between July and August. The infants remain hidden with their mother for the 1st two weeks of life, before joining the herd again. Tibetan Gazelles have lived up to 5 years and 7 months in captivity.
Although their population has declined over recent years, they do not inhabit regions of high human population and do not significantly compete with local livestock. Because of their small size, they are not popular targets for hunting and they are classified as Class –2 Protected Species in China.
In Ladakh, they live at high altitudes (15,580-16,570ft), but prefer relatively flat areas with an affinity for warmer south-facing slopes. They co-exist with domestic yaks and kiang, but are competitive with domestic goats and sheep and avoid herders and their dogs.