Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/230

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

208

THE ATA-DZEREN:

but the Mongols in Tsaidam, who are perfectly well acquainted with the orongo, deny entirely the existence there of a one-horned antelope, though admitting that it might be found in South-western Tibet. Had we gone farther we should probably have heard that it was only to be found in India, and so on till we arrived at the one-horned rhinoceros!

Another antelope native to Northern Tibet, and called by the Mongols ata-dzeren, i.e. little antelope (Antilope picticauda), is remarkable for its diminutive size. The male is three feet four inches long (including the bend of the neck), two feet four inches high, and only weighs thirty-six pounds; the horns are long and slightly curved, with the points turned backwards, and numerous small notches in front. The prevailing colour is a dusky grey, the rump and belly white, bordered behind and on the flanks by a narrow yellow stripe. We saw this animal near the head waters of the Tatung-gol, and apparently the same species on ascending the high lands of Kan-su in the uneven plain beyond the border range.[1]

Like the orongo it frequents elevated plains, preferring, however, the valleys in the mountains where water is abundant. Yet its habits are very different from the orongos, and it is without exception the most graceful and the swiftest of the antelopes of Mongolia and Northern Tibet. It generally moves in small herds of five or seven (seldom as many as twenty), though solitary males are often seen. It

  1. These are never found in Koko-nor and Tsaidam.