GAZELLE, ga-zOY (OF. gazel, gazelle, Sp. gazela, from Ar. ghazal, gazelle, from ghazila, to be affectionate). A name applied to various small, slender, and graceful antelopes, with large, liquid eyes and short horns. About twenty species are known in Southwestern Asia and Northern Africa. They are distinguished from each other by the length of the ringed and usu ally lyrate horns, and by color; but the differ ences are often hard to define, and some zoolo gists regard as mere varieties what others hold to be perfectly distinct species. The best known species is the true gazelle (Gazelle dorcas), which exhibits the typical characters of the group in their highest perfection. It is of a light tawny color, the under parts white; a broad brown band along each flank; the hair short and smooth. The face is reddish fawn-color, with white stripes at each side, inclosing a dark triangular space. The horns of the old males arc nine or ten inches long, bending outward and then inward, like the sides of a lyre, also back-. ward at the base and forward at the tips; then tapering to a point and showing thirteen or four teen permanent rings. The horns of the female are smaller. The ears are long, narrow, and pointed; the eyes very large, soft, and black; there is a tuft of hair on each `knee;' the tail is short, with black hairs on its upper surface only and at its tip. This gazelle is a native of the north of Africa, Asia Minor, Syria, and Arabia. It was known to the ancients, and is described by .rElian under the name dorcas, which was also given to the roe-deer. The speed of the gazelle is such that it cannot be successfully hunted by any kind of clog, but in some parts of the East it is taken by the assistance of falcons, and is also captured in inclosures made near its drinking-places. Although naturally very wild and timid, it is easily domesticated, and when taken young becomes extremely familiar. Tame gazelles are very common in Asiatic countries, and Oriental poetry abounds in allusions to their beauty and gentleness.
Various other species of gazelles should be Mentioned. The commonest species of the Sahara
is Loder's (Gazelle Loderi), called 'reem' by the Arabs of Algeria, which lives on berries and leaves, and is said never to drink.
Another species of the eastern Sahara high lands is the admi or mountain gazelle (Gazelle Cuvieri), which often comes down at night in small bands to feed upon the grain in the valleys. It is twice the weight of the dorcas, and in quickness and facility in eluding observation it is almost equal to the aoudad. The common gazelle of Arabia is Gazelle Arabica. Abyssinia and the open country southward have several species, among them the beautiful Kordofan species (Gazelle isabellina), isabelline in color, with a reddish instead of the usual black tail; Grant's (Gazelle Granti), very numerous about Kilimanjaro, and having the longest horns of the genus; the long-necked greenuk (Litho cranius Walleri); the diminutive Thomson's gazelle, and others. In South Africa the spring bok (Gazelle euehore) is widespread and fa miliar. (See SPRINGBOK.) West Central Africa has several local species, of which the swift gazelle (Gazelle mohr) and the korin (q.v.) are perhaps best known; and the dig-dig and dama (q.v.) are familiar in the Sudan.
Of the Asiatic gazelles the Indian chinkara (Gazelle Bennetti), known to Anglo-Indian sportsmen as the `ravine deer,' is the most familiar. It inhabits the plains from Central India to Persia, keeps to the broken country, and is so exceedingly swift as to furnish excellent sport with greyhounds or falcons, and is also much hunted with the cheeta (q.v.). It is light chestnut in general color above, and has long, ringed horns; the buck stands about twenty-six inches high at the shoulders. Two other species inhabit the lofty plains of Mongolia and Thibet, and a third, the Persian gazelle (Gazelle gut turosa), is well known from the Caspian Sea to the desert of Gobi. Blanford's writings on the zoology of India and Persia contain extensive accounts of these and other Asiatic forms. See ANTELOPE, and the names of various species; and Plate of GAZELLES.