Mongolian gazelles, sometimes known as zeren, are nomadic and wander across remote corners of Mongolia in search of grazing. They sometimes form mega-herds, with the largest ever recorded having around 250,000 members. The birthing season is variable and depends on the climatic conditions during the previous year, but 90% of the females in a herd will give birth within a four day period. This birth synchrony is an efficient strategy to combat the short growing season and the impact of predators.
Scientific name: Procapra gutturosa
In a remote corner of outer Mongolia, a million calving gazelles are on the move.
It took three years to film one of the world's greatest, yet rarely witnessed, migrations. A microlight transported from South America was written off before a single image was captured. With little cover to hide from these intensely shy animals, the cameraman had to bury himself up to the neck, in 40 degree heat. The aerial shots were finally obtained from an ancient Russian military helicopter.
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The following habitats are found across the Mongolian gazelle distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Population trend: Unknown
Year assessed: 2008
Classified by: IUCN 3.1
The Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa), or zeren (Russian: Дзерэн), is a medium-sized antelope native to the semiarid Central Asian steppes of Mongolia, as well as some parts of Siberia and China. The name zeren is Russian corruption of the Mongolian language name of zeer' (Mongolian: Зээр).
In the summer, its coat is light brown with pinkish tones, becoming longer and paler during the winter. It also has a distinctive heart-shaped white patch on their rump area, divided by a median line of darker color. The males have lyre-shaped horns which curl backwards from the forehead. They are extremely fast runners and good swimmers.
In the winter, they are mostly diurnal, but in the summer, they are active shortly after sunrise and before sunset. They tend to travel a lot, and migrations takes place in spring and autumn, but the distance and direction vary depending on the weather and food availability.
The groups usually consists of 20-30 individuals in the summer, and 100 in the winter. However, herds up to 5,000 individuals are not unusual. They still exist in large numbers, with a small captive population; the population trend is unknown. In 2007, a mega-herd of a quarter of a million Mongolian gazelles was seen gathering on the country's steppes, one of the world's last great wildernesses.
The mating season is in the late autumn or winter; at this time the males' throat swells in a goiter-like effect. Competition is vigorous, but fights rarely breaks out. The gestation period lasts for about five or six months. Births occur is June and July, when groups of dozens of females separate from the herd to give birth, rejoining the herd afterward. They usually give birth to a single young and occasionally twins. They weigh about 3 kg and can keep up with their mother after a few days. They will be able to mate after 17 – 18 months.
The Mongolian gazelle is still one of the most numerous large animals in the world, with the total population at about 1.5 million individuals, but approximately 100,000 are killed each year. However, it does not seems to be hit particularly hard and the conservation status is at Least Concern. Whether the population is increasing or decreasing is unknown, but the population is known to be subject to significant fluctuations due to diseases and severe winters.
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