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Chinese goral

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Chinese goral

Chinese goral
Chinese goral with kid
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Naemorhedus
Species: N. griseus
Binomial name
Naemorhedus griseus
Milne-Edwards, 1874[2]

The Chinese goral (Nemorhaedus griseus), also known as the grey long-tailed goral, is a species of goral, a small goat-like ungulate, native to mountainous regions of Myanmar, China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, and possibly Laos. In some parts of its range it is over-hunted. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed it as a "vulnerable species".

Description

The Chinese goral is intermediate between an antelope and a goat and grows to a shoulder height of 50 to 78 cm (20 to 31 in) and length of 82 to 130 cm (32 to 51 in). It is stockily built with long, stout limbs and broad hooves. The horns are short and conical and the ears fairly long and pointed. There are four teats in contrast to sheep and goats which normally have two. The coat consists of a short, dense under layer and an upper layer of longer, semi-erect, coarse guard hairs. The colour is somewhat variable, ranging from pale grey to dark brown or reddish-brown. A dark stripe runs along the back and the throat and underparts are pale.[3]

Distribution and habitat

The Chinese goral is native to parts of south eastern Asia. Its range extends from north eastern India, Myanmar and north western Thailand, through northern Vietnam and possibly northern Laos, to most of China apart from the extreme north and west. It is a mountain species and is found in rugged, inaccessible areas, on steep slopes and plateaus, normally staying in rocky areas but sometimes venturing into nearby evergreen-deciduous forest and mixed woodland.[1]

Behaviour

Chinese gorals live in small groups of up to twelve individuals though older males are usually solitary. They are wary and retiring, spending their time on high rocky slopes where they can evade such predators as the wolf and leopard. They move to lower ground in winter. They browse predominately on twigs and leaves of bushes but also consume grass, nuts and acorns. Breeding takes place in late spring when one or two kids are born after a gestation period of about 215 days. The young can walk soon after birth and are weaned in the autumn, remaining with the mother throughout the winter.[3]

Status

The chief threat faced by the Chinese goral is hunting. Animals are killed for their meat and fur and also for medicine. Part of their range is in protected areas where they should be safe, but elsewhere populations are declining. This is thought to be due to over-hunting, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed the Chinese goral as being a "vulnerable species".[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c Duckworth, J.W.; Steinmetz, R.; Rattanawat, Chaiyarat (2008). Naemorhedus caudatus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2014-09-16.
  2. ^  
  3. ^ a b "Chinese goral". Woodland Park Zoo. Retrieved 2014-09-16. 
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