Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Cetartiodactyla

Family: Cervidae

Genus: Rucrverus

Species: Duvaucelii

The barasingha, also known as swamp deer, is a medium-sized deer with a brown coat and yellowish undersides. The word 'barasingha' is Hindi for "twelve horns", referring to the particularly large antlers of males which can grow up to one meter in length and have six to eight points near each tip. Males are generally darker in color than female, and which approximately 90 lbs. more than females do on average (390 lbs vs 300 lbs).
Upland barasingha stag
Upland barasingha stag
Image 1

Barasingha were once found throughout the regions of the basins of the Indus, Ganges, and Bhramaputra Rivers, but are now confined to northern India and southern Nepal. They exist today only in the national parks of Dudhwa in northern India, Mana Kaziranga in northeastern India, and Kanha and Indravati in central India.

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Barasingha prefer marshes or swamplands, and usually feed in open grasslands. In harsh weather conditions or extreme heat, they take shelter in brushes. Barasingha use smell as the primary sense for detecting danger.

Image 3
Barasingha males foraging © Myriam Dupuis / Biosphoto
Barasingha males foraging © Myriam Dupuis / Biosphoto
Barasingha male and female © Gerard Lacz /
Barasingha male and female © Gerard Lacz /
Image 4

The main diet of the barasingha consists of grass, which they feed on in the vast grasslands of central and northern India and sometimes from the beds of wet swamps. They often graze as large herds, and can best be spotted feeding in the early morning and evening.

During breeding season, which runs from September to April, barasingha males compete for harems of around thirty females. Barasingha can live for twenty to thirty years.

Image 5

The global population of the barasingha has undergone a significant decline mostly as a result of habitat loss. The floodplains which barasingha frequent have been developing for agriculture and industry. In addition to habitat loss, predation and poaching have played a role in decreasing the barasingha population. According to the IUCN, the estimated barasingha population is between 3,500 and 5,100 animals. The species is still assumed to be in decline by at least 10% over approximately three generations.

Conservation has been effective thus far; the populations within the parks in which the species now resides have reportedly gotten steadier. Nevertheless, the barasingha species is reliant upon active management in these protected areas, and any changes in efficient management style could result in a relapse of the rapid declines which occurred mid-twentieth century. The barasingha is protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

Video Link:

There are many short videos on YouTube featuring the barasingha. This one is about 4 minutes in length.

Works Cited

"Barasingha Deer." All About Exotics RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

"Barasingha (Rucervus Duvaucelii)." Barasingha Videos, Photos and Facts. Wildscreen, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

"Rucervus Duvaucelii." (Barasingha, Swamp Deer). International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

"Swamp Deer / Barasingha." Swamp Deer / Barasingha. Wildlywise Adventures, 2001. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

Images 1, 3, and 4 belong to

Image 2 belongs to

Image 5 belongs to the IUNC.