I was in Bihar, studying the Gangetic river dolphin as part of a conservation project. While I searched for these enthralling grey animals, I couldn’t help but look for other wildlife too. My passion for the wilderness compelled me to take a kachha road and along with my friends I explored the land for yet another dusky beauty... the blackbuck.
My partner and I were getting restless. After a few hours of travelling, I stopped the vehicle near a field. Using binoculars, I scanned the far reaches of the endless plains dotted with electricity cables, huge pylons, a mango tree, and a couple of houses in the background…
“They roam here in the fields and you can find them sitting near the Ficus tree,” said the locals. Resuming the scan, my eyes suddenly picked up animal figures in the distance. Jumping with joy, I handed over the binoculars to my friend, Subhas, to crosscheck whether I was daydreaming. “Yes, it is one beautiful male,” he said “and there are six more.”
Suddenly I saw a male with an erect posture. He gazed towards a corner of the field. I looked around for his source of alertness – a jackal, perhaps? Or maybe a leopard? But to my surprise it was a group of four feral dogs who criss-crossed the adjacent field, in search of food. My presence didn’t bother him and the buck just stood there. He was all set to protect his kin without caring for his own life. This behaviour is termed ‘altruism’ and it is observed in many