Fun Chiru Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Chiru Facts For Kids

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

While we explore nature, we come across instances where humans adversely impact wildlife. Although many animals and plants have now adapted to new stresses, food sources, pests, and threats in urban environments and thrive close to humans, many others have not. For instance, let us learn about the Tibetan antelope, also known as a Chiru, native to the Tibetan plateau. It is said that the sight of the Tibetan antelope in the wild is so exciting. The male Chirus are attractive with their long, thin horns and thick coats, while the female Chirus are hornless. However, it is more exciting to watch when they are traveling between summer and winter pastures - herds of hundreds of Chirus congregating together in the wild for thousands of miles with no people around at all. Chirus, whose population was once estimated at as much as millions or even more, now the numbers have fallen to a great extent. This is mainly due to the poaching of these species for their smooth, light, and warm underfur.

Once you've finished with our facts on Chirus below, don't confine yourself to just Tibetan antelopes; there are several more antelopes to learn about in nature, such as the spiral-horned antelope and saiga antelope.

Fun Chiru Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Forbs, grasses, and sedges

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

Male: 86 lb (39 kg) Female: 57 lb (26 kg)

How long are they?

Male: 51.6 in (131 cm)Female: 48 in (122 cm)‍

How tall are they?

Male: 33 in (83 cm)Female: 29 in (74 cm)‍

What do they look like?

Pale fawn to Reddish-brown

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Wolves, Snow Leopards, And Lynx, Red Foxes

What is their conservation status?

Near Threatened

Where you'll find them?

Open Alpine And Cold Steppe


Tibet, And Ladakh, Western Qinghai, Southern Xinjiang









Chiru Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Chiru?

The Chiru (Panthalops hodgsoni), also known as the Tibetan antelope, is a beautiful medium-sized antelope.

What class of animal does a Chiru belong to?

The Tibetan antelope, or Chiru, is a mammal of a family of Bovids found on the Tibetan plateau. The Tibetan antelope is the only species in the Pantholops genus named after the Greek word Pantholops, which means - all antelope.

How many Chirus are there in the world?

It is unfortunate to learn that less than 150,000 mature Chirus remain in the wild, but the population is now supposed to be growing.

Where does a Chiru live?

The Tibetan plateau is home to this animal. Their population almost entirely lives in China, Tibet, southern Xinjiang, and western Qinghai. Some of them exist in Ladakh, across the border of Jammu and Kashmir, North India. The westernmost Tibetan antelope population is located on the Depsang plains, up to 18,040 ft (5500 m) above sea level. The Chang Tang Nature Reserve of North Tibet today holds the largest part of the population. The first samples to be identified were from Nepal in 1826, while Hoh Xil's Zhuonai Lake is known as the Calving grounds for these Tibetan antelopes.

What is a Chiru's habitat?

Tibetan antelope lives in one of the most extreme climates on the planet. The Tibetan antelope has a habitat of Alpine tundra and cold steppe surroundings at elevations ranging from 10,660-18,040 ft (3,250-5,500 m). They prefer open, flat terrain with little vegetation cover.

Who do Chirus live with?

They are more commonly found in much smaller groups, with no more than 20 animals. However, Tibetan antelopes are gregarious, often gathering in herds of hundreds of individuals while traveling between summer and winter fields.

How long does a Chiru live?

Although the exact lifespan of Tibetan antelopes is uncertain, it is most likely to live for 8-10 years if it is not disturbed by their underfur shahtoosh or by any other predator.

How do they reproduce?

Do you know, the mating of Tibetan antelopes or Chiru? It is called rutting, and their rutting season is generally from November to December. A male Chiru can form harems of up to 12 females, but one to four is more commonly observed. After rutting, a female Chiru gives birth to a single calf in June or July after six months. These calves are precocial and can stand up 15 minutes after birth. They are grown totally within 15 months; however, they reach sexual maturity in their second or third year. Male calves leave within 12 months when their horns begin to develop, while female calves can stay with their mothers until they give birth. The length of a male's horns determines its rank and reaches its maximum length at around three and a half years.

What is their conservation status?

The most severe threat to the Chiru is poaching. Right from 1979, the Tibetan antelope or Chiru have been legally protected by International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Since then, it has been illegal to kill, hurt, or trade these species worldwide. According to the World Conservation Union and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it is Endangered. The population of these species severely declined due to massively illegal poaching in the 20th century. Being the best-preserved wildlife in the Tibetan Plateau by the Chinese Government, there is population growth. Therefore, the Tibetan antelope was reclassified from Endangered to Nearly Threatened by the International Union for Natural Conservation (IUCN).

Chiru Fun Facts

What do Chirus look like?

Coming to its look, the Chiru (Pantholops hodgsoni) means a medium-sized goat antelope native to Tibet. A male Chiru has long, curved-back horns with ring-like ridges on the bottoms and smooth pointed ends about 21-23 in long, absent in females. They have a dense and fluffy coat which is light fawn to reddish-brown, with whitish bellies, short and pointed ears, and a tiny tail. Male chiru faces are almost black, with prominent nasal swellings that are paler in color. During their annual rut, the color of males becomes more intense, with the coat becoming much paler, almost white, compared to the darker patterns on the face and legs. Unlike other goat antelopes, the horns do not grow throughout its life. Tibetan antelope fur is unique, with rich guard hairs and a silky undercoat of shorter fibers. Their guard hairs are thicker than those of other goats, with peculiarly thin walls, and have a distinct pattern of cuticular scales that resemble the structure of benzene.

An adult Impala with a young Impala.

*Please note, this is an image of an Impala. If you have spotted a Chiru and have an image, let us know at [email protected].

How cute are they?

Tibetan antelopes are noted for their beauty, grace, and elegant appearance. Their curving horns and coats of hair are added beauty.

How do they communicate?

Like other antelopes, mostly Chirus also communicate with one another through various sounds like 'dik-diks', alerting other animals to danger. It is also observed that antelope posture and movement also exhibit their mood. Most medium-sized antelope species bounce up and down on all four legs, keeping them straight when excited or alarmed. This pronking or stotting behavior serves as a warning sign. The Chiru antelope also uses scent signals to communicate; these signals can last several days in the region they travel. Herding antelopes have special glands in their hooves that leave a scented trace of their movement. If an antelope or a young one is separated from its herd, it will retrace with these scent tracks. So, if one of its mates lost its way no need to worry; if predators do not capture them, they may be on their way.

How big is a Chiru?

The Tibetan antelope or Chiru are medium-sized antelopes. A male is standing 33 in (83 cm) tall, and a female standing 29 in (74 cm) tall.

How fast can a Chiru run?

The Chiru can run at speeds of up to 50 mph, sometimes even beating the thoroughbred racehorses.

How much does a Chiru weigh?

Males are significantly larger than females, weighing around 86 lb (39 kg) versus females 57 lb (26 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

In general, there are no separate names for the males and females in Chirus, but being an antelope, males can be referred to as a buck, and females can be referred to as doe.

What would you call a baby Chiru?

The young Chirus (Panthalops hodgsoni) are referred to as fawns.

What do they eat?

The Chiru (Pantholops hodgsonii) are herbivorous. A Chiru eats forbs, grasses, and sedges, and in the winter, they are usually seen digging through the snow to get food.

Are they aggressive?

Chirus are found to be aggressive during the mating season, trying to win female antelope hearts. Males fight fiercely as one male antelope has four to six female antelopes as partners.

Would they make a good pet?

Chirus are happier in the wild as they can survive only in severe conditions like the Tibetan plateau region. Even if we try to domesticate them, we may fail as they are challenging to tame and are very good at jumping over fences!

Did you know...

As we do, animals rest and sleep in their way, whether they are lying down or standing, and their resting position can vary depending on their body size. It is observed to have a strange resting behavior like a puppet. In Chirus, this kind of standing rest behavior is generally found more in large-sized ungulates. During this puppet behavior, it is observed that their head remains motionless and usually under their shoulder, suggesting that they could not sense the existence of their surroundings for hours together.

Why is the Chiru endangered?

The Chiru has the world's softest and warmest fur, incomparably fine and dense. This underfur is typically woven into traditional shawls known as a shahtoosh. Poachers refer to the underfur as soft gold. Chirus have been killed and endangered because of the demand for their fur. Chirus were once numbered in the millions, but by the 1990s, their numbers had fallen to 75,000. They began to recover in the first decade of the 20th century, thanks to stronger habitat protections in China and improved enforcement of the animal's strict CITES listing, prohibiting any international trade of these species. As a result, global conservation organizations are conducting numerous wildlife conservation projects, which include regular socio-economic and wildlife surveys and training programs for park rangers and anti-poaching units.

Chirus and Shahtoosh wool

Shahtoosh is derived from the Persian word, which means king of fine wools. Shahtoosh is a unique type of wool made from the Chiru's, woven into a high-fashion shawl. To obtain the wool, a Chiru has to be killed as shahtoosh comes only from the undercoat of the Chiru, and people peel it from their carcasses. Poachers usually smuggled shahtoosh out of China via Nepal or India and into the north Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, the only two places in the world where it is legal to possess and process shahtoosh. It takes four to five Chirus to bear enough wool for just one shahtoosh shawl or scarf. Global demand for shahtoosh wiped out 90% of the Chiru population during the previous century bringing their number to thousands. Chirus are also safeguarded as they were classified as endangered in the 2003 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which prohibited the purchase and sale of shahtoosh products. So, before buying a shahtoosh shawl as a gift, keep in mind that it may cost the lives of four to five Chirus.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our Sable fun facts for kids, and Addax interesting facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Chiru coloring pages.

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?