Himalayan Tahr Hunting New Zealand

Himalayan Tahr ( Hemitragus jemlahicus )

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Bovidae
  • Subfamily: Cervinae
  • Genus: Hemitragus
  • Species: H. jemlahicus

The Himalayan Tahr is one of three species of Tahr

Other Tahrs are the Arabian Tahr of Oman, and the Nilgiri Tahr of southern India. The Himalayan Tahr is a relative of the wild goat and is specially adapted to life on the rugged mountain slopes and montane woodlands of the Himalayas.

Feral Himalayan Tahr were first introduced in 1904 to the South Island of New Zealand, with herds forming in the Southern Alps.

The Himalayan Tahr may migrate down the mountain during the winter, resting in denser cover at lower altitudes as protection from the elements. When competing for breeding privileges, males lock horns and attempt to throw each other off balance, although compared to other ungulates this is done in a somewhat half-hearted manner.

With the introduced groups in New Zealand, the population density varies from 4.5-6.8 animals per square kilometer.

Himalayan Tahr Description

  • Body Length: 90-140 cm / 3-4.7 ft
  • Shoulder Height: 65-100 cm / 2.1-3.3 ft
  • Tail Length: 9-12 cm / 3.6-4.8 in
  • Weight: 36-90 kg / 79-189 lb

The dense, wooly winter coat is reddish to dark brown and has a thick undercoat. With their winter coat, males also grow a long, shaggy mane around the neck and shoulders which extends down the front legs. After the spring molt, the coat is much shorter and lighter in colour. The legs are relatively short, and the head is proportionally small. The eyes are large, and the ears are small and pointed. The horns are triangular in cross-section and are found in both sexes. They curve upward, backwards, and then inwards, to a maximum length of 45 cm / 18 inches, and are usually larger in males.

Himalayan Tahr Mating and Reproduction

The rut, or breeding season, occurs from October to January. During the breeding season, the male Himalayan Tahr will ruff up its mane to intimidate its opponents. He will try to impress females with his appearance and spend hours strutting in front of them before mating.

When challenged by another male, they will try to lock horns and throw each other off balance.

The female will slip away to be by herself to give birth to a single offspring after a 7 month gestation period. The young Tahr depends on its mother's milk for about 6 months, but will stay close to her for up to 2 years.

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