Arabian Tahr


Arabian Tahr

Taxobox
name = Arabian Tahr
status = EN | status_system = IUCN2.3
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Artiodactyla
familia = Bovidae
subfamilia = Caprinae
genus = "Hemitragus"
species = "H. jayakari"
binomial = "Hemitragus jayakari"
binomial_authority = Thomas, 1894
The Arabian tahr ("Hemitragus jayakari") is a species of tahr native to Arabia.

The Arabian tahr is one of the smallest species of tahr in the world. The animal is of stocky build with backward-arching horns in both sexes. Although, males' are much more robust than females'. Its coat consists of a long, reddish-brown hair, with a dark stripe running down the back. Males possess the most impressive manes which extend right down the back and grow longer, based on the age. Older males also grow such a grand mane with a black muzzle and darker eye stripes. And as with most mountain goats and sheep, it has rubbery hooves to provide balance and traction on the steep, rocky slopes.

Habitat/Range

The Arabian tahr lives on steep rocky slopes of Hajar Mountains in United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman, with altitudes of up to 1,800 meters above sea level.

Biology

Unlike other species of tahr, the Arabian tahr is solitary or lives in small groups consisting of a female and a kid, or a male. And instead of forming herds during seasonal ruts, reproduction occurs in small, dispersed family units. There are reports of births occurring throughout the year, and gestation lasts from 140-145 days.

Diet

These animals are usually browsers, feeding on grass, shrubs, leaves, and fruits of most trees. They are highly dependent on water and need to drink two or three days during summer. They would descend from their point of elevation to drink from river courses known as 'wadis'. And would travel to new areas when water dries up.

Threats

The Arabian tahr is an extremely endangered due to intense overgrazing, poaching, and habitat destruction. In Oman, during the recent years, increased human migrations to urban areas resulted to domestic goats gone feral and foraging in places which were once the tahr's home. Habitat degradation is also due to construction of roads, buildings, and mineral extraction. And poaching often leads to the animals descending down for a fresh drink.

Conservation

In 1973, efforts were planned to protect the Arabian tahr. And in 1975, it was granted in the Hajar Mountains. In 1980, a captive breeding program was set up at the Omani Mammal Breeding Center in order to reintroduce captive-bred individuals back into the wild. There are now three institutions involved, one in Oman and two in UAE. Sadly, many people seem to be unaware about the tahr's grave situations, leading to other conservations initiatives to focus on the publicity and educational campaigns to raise the animal's profile.

External links

* [http://www.redlist.org/search/details.php?species=9918 IUCN Red List]


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