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The most striking feature of a barasingha is its antlers, with 10 to 14 tines on a mature stag, though some have been known to have up to 20. The name is derived from this characteristic and means "12-tined or horned" in Hindi.
The Barasingha, swamp deer is listed as Vulnerable (VU), considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Hunting, poaching and, more important, diversion of the bulk of grassland to agriculture, are considered the main causes of their reduced numbers. Tall grass is not only their food, but also provides security for young fawns during the birthing season.