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Sand Gazelle

Sand Gazelle
Photo Information
Copyright: Les Winder (rewind) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 117 W: 5 N: 133] (1139)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-03-01
Categories: Nature
Camera: Pentax K5
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/180 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-03-01 7:59
Viewed: 2551
Points: 6
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I was walking along the rim rock (the line of cliffs that surrounds the central depression in Bahrain) this evening just before sunset and I spotted this shy sand gazelle. The are very difficult to get close to and this was taken with my 28-80 Tamron zoom from about 200 metres away in the shado of the rim rock. Cropped and brightened in PS. I know it is not particularly sharp but to get a shot of one of these in the wild is not easy, they are getting quite rare in the wild here. It also amazes me how they survive, particulary this year as we have only had two fairly short showers of rain since April 2007! A few mnore details found on the internet follow:-
The Sand gazelle is quite distinct from all other Arabian gazelles and only very distantly related. There is a distinct difference between males and females, noticeable particularly in their horn shape. Males have distinctly hooked tips to their horns that are broader in diameter than those of the feebler females. The horns of the female gazelle often do not have the sharp hooks of the males. One theory of horn evolution is that they have developed as a response to the competition and conflict imposed by the trait of territoriality.

Unlike many other antelope species, the male Sand gazelle has large scent glands on his face. The territories of ungulates are very large, and constantly changing as herds search for the best grazing, making scenting a futile practice. However in Sand gazelle it is thought that they have necessarily small winter territories allowing effective marking with facial scent glands.

In central Arabia, it is an inhabitant of the sands, gravel plains and limestone plateaux and feeds on perennial dwarf shrubs, supplemented by abundant herbage following the winter rains. According to local experts, the historical distribution of the sand gazelle on the Arabian Peninsula consists of fragmented populations throughout.

The colouration of these elegant gazelles is very light, with a white under-belly and face. Their colouration is an obvious adaptation for the sandy desert habitat they favour, the only contrast being their soft black nose and mouth and large black eyes. These animals usually rely on concealment to escape detection. Their first response to danger is to freeze and then, only on the predator's closer approach, to run away.

Sand gazelle are the only antelope that regularly give birth to twins which usually happens in spring and autumn. The young are hidden for the first few days until they are strong enough to move with the herd. There does not appear to be any particular breeding season, however, peaks have been noted in captive herds during May and October. Sand gazelles will also often give birth twice in one year.

Their sense of sight and smell are well developed and can be seen as a clear adaptation on the skull in the large size of the orbits and ear cavities.

Gazelles are mainly browsers, eating grass, herbs and woody plants depending on availability. Generally they eat whatever is greenest or in abundance although their grazing range has been greatly diminished by man. Domestic sheep and goats also compete for the same food plants. As for the ibex and other antelope species, man has denied gazelles safe access to the limited springs and running water available.

bluepianowaits, RhythmThief has marked this note useful
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To hopalong: Thanksrewind 1 03-02 07:05
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Les
You've done well to capture something as quick as this.
Regards Pez

Hi Dad,

You did well too see it let alone get a picture! It is a shame you didnt a longer lens on but then there is not always enough time is there? Good composition and I like the bright white arse.


I like this, the rarity of it makes it good despite the technical imperfections. Well snatched, interesting composition and a good note. I use P mode for shots like this now, having missed so many pictures by having to set the shutter speed and apeture!
Cheers, John.

For these types of shots, a point and shoot handy is always good as there's a minimum of setup while the DSLR can be a bit tricky to get set although using the 'programmed' modes can up one's speed, it's not always the best settings. It's quite blurry and out of focus but a good note.

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