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A sturdy thin-legged antelope, the nilgai is characterised by a sloping back, a deep neck with a white patch on the throat, a short crest of hair along the neck terminating in a tuft, and white facial spots. A column of pendant coarse hair hangs from the dewlap ridge below the white patch. The animals band together in three distinct kinds of groups: one or two females with young calves, three to six adult and yearling females with calves, and all-male groups with two to 18 members. The time of the year when mating takes place varies geographically, but a peak breeding season lasting three to four months can be observed at most places. As typical of several bovid species, nilgai calves stay hidden for the first few weeks of their lives.
The lifespan of the nilgai is around ten years. They are common in agricultural lands, but hardly occur in dense forest. As of 2008, the feral population in Texas is nearly 37,000. The word was first recorded in use in 1882. They are also known as white-footed antelope.
This tribe originated at least 8. Though the extant nilgai females lack horns, historic relatives of the antelope had horned females. Asia around eight million years ago. Kurnool caves in southern India. Close view of a male nilgai showing the facial markings, throat patch, beard and short horns. The nilgai is the largest antelope in Asia. A sturdy thin-legged antelope, the nilgai is characterised by a sloping back, a deep neck with a white patch on the throat, a short mane of hair behind and along the back ending behind the shoulder, and around two white spots each on its face, ears, cheeks, lips and chin.
Males have thicker skin on their head and neck that protect them in fights. The coat is not well-insulated with fat during winter, and consequently severe cold might be fatal for the nilgai. Only males possess horns, though a few females may be horned as well. Smooth and straight, these may point backward or forward. The permanent teeth get degraded with age, showing prominent signs of wear at six years of age.
A 1991 study investigated the daily routine of the antelope and found feeding peaks at dawn, in the morning, in the afternoon and during the evening. Females and juveniles do not interact appreciably with males, except during the mating season. Groups are generally small, with ten or fewer individuals, though groups of 20 to 70 individuals can occur at times. However, three distinct groupings are formed: one or two females with young calves, three to six adult and yearling females with calves, and male groups with two to 18 members. Though generally quiet, nilgai have been reported to make short guttural grunts when alarmed, and females to make clicking noises when nursing young. Fights take place in both sexes and involve pushing their necks against each other or ramming into one another using horns.
A young male was observed making a submissive display in the Sariska Reserve by kneeling before an adult male, who stood erect. The process is not as elaborate in the females as it is in the males. Nilgai can reach for high branches. India, whereas they are primarily grazers in Texas. The sambar deer and nilgai in Nepal have similar dietary preferences. Diets generally suffice in protein and fats. The protein content of the nilgai’s should be at least seven percent.
The nilgai can survive for long periods without water and do not drink regularly even in summer. Females can breed again around a year after parturition. Males become sexually active at four or five years. Mating may occur throughout the year, with peaks of three to four months. The time of the year when these peaks occur varies geographically. In Texas, a peak is apparent from December to March. October to February, peaking in November and December.
The Sariska reserve witnesses a similar peak in December and January. The victorious bull would protect the vicinity of the targeted female from other males. The courtship typically lasts for 45 minutes. The male, stiff and composed, approaches the receptive female, who keeps her head low to the ground and may slowly walk forward. Finally, the male pushes his chest against her rump, and mounts her.