Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Creature Feature #102: Chiru
The Chiru is an antelope found in the Tibet plateau, when he occupies the high alpine regions. He is a social beast, gathering in herds of around twenty. The females migrate to the calving grounds in the summer months, leaving the males behind, and return to them in autumn. Only the males have horns and the black stripes on the legs. His horns are mainly for show, and he does not spar with them, but the longer the horns, the more dominant the male. The pelt is distinctive, and well designed for cold climes - the guard hairs are thick and long, with slender cellular walls and they cover a silky, shorter undercoat. This wool is fine and silky, and can be woven into a highly desirable form known as shahtoosh. Chiru are not domesticated and poachers find it easier to kill the entire beast to collect the wool. This puts the entire species at risk.