Grasslands are found on almost all the continents in the world — from the prairies of Northern America to Asian steppes, Australian downs and African savannas — except in Greenland and Antarctica. These biodiverse ecosystems play host to some of the world’s most charismatic and endangered species. In India, grasslands are home to animals such as the Blackbuck, Indian Wolf, Lesser Florican and the Bengal Fox.

This story is set in Bidar, the northernmost district of Karnataka. It is a semi-arid land and lies in the centre of the Deccan plateau. Receiving an average of 847 mm of rainfall annually, the land is covered mostly by grasslands and shrublands.

The Blackbuck is native to the Indian subcontinent and found in groups that range from two to several hundred individuals. It is the most commonly known antelope species in India, due to its wide distribution range and the striking long spiralling horns of adult males. However, over the years its number is on the decline dramatically and is now protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (1972) as a Schedule I species.

Habitat loss is a huge factor that determines the well-being of Blackbucks. World over, grasslands are one of the most threatened landscapes, as they are often treated as wastelands and converted into agricultural land or used for infrastructural development projects. Today, Blackbucks still roam in large numbers but if we hope to save the grasslands and their wild denizens, we need to act now.