Meet the Shy Himalayan Tahr of Nepal

The shy and timid Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), found in Nepal, is closely related to the wild goat. There are also two other species of tahr known as the Arabian Tahr, common to Oman in Southwest Asia, and the Nilgiri Tahr, which can be found in the south of India.

The beautiful and elusive Himalayan tahrs tend to spend most of their time high up on the Nepal's mountain slopes, particularly in the wooded forests of the Jemala hills and on rocky outcrops during the summer periods. During the winter season, as the food supply changes, the Himalyan tahrs move down to where the cover is denser, thus protecting them from the natural elements as well as providing a sufficient food supply for the herd. Interestingly, the family group is usually made up of a mixed herd which can range from about 15 all the way up to 80 animals. In most cases the old buck tend to be solitary, venturing into the groups on occasion. However, during the spring periods the group tends to ‘dismantle’ with the male buck forming all male groups before rejoining in the autumn periods.

Himalayan tahrs are usually difficult to approach as the entire herd is keenly alert to any unfamiliar noises or sudden movements. As they are easily startled, they are best viewed from some distance away. The Himalayan tahrs tend to be more active during parts of the early morning, in the late afternoon and dusk periods, grazing on grass and leaves while resting during the warm day. The mating season, or rutting season, occurs during the months of October through to January. During this time male tahrs will compete for breeding privileges within the herd. The males battle by locking horns and attempting to unbalance each other.

The Himalayan tahrs do not have many predators in their home range, with the leopard and snow leopard being their foremost enemies. Nevertheless, the World Conservation Union does consider them to be vulnerable in the Himalayas as well as the areas that they have been introduced into, such as New Zealand, California, South Africa, Ontario and Mexico. The reason for this is predominantly due to man and his insatiable appetite for hunting, be it for meat, sport or trophies, thus causing a great concern for the overall existence and survival of the Tahr species.

 



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