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

Introduction

  • Himalayan Thar is a primitive form of wild goat. It evolved in the south Asian-Middle East region. 
  • It inhabits a narrow strip of steep habitat along the southern flanks of the Himalayas.
  • Its current distribution is bounded by the Pir panjal range in the western and central Bhutan in the eastern Himalayas (Burrard 1925).
  • Its status is currently considered near threatened by IUCN.
  • In Nepal, Himalayan Thar is recorded in more than 8 different places of high mountain (Gurung 1995). The most peculiar places are the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Sagarmatha National Park, Annapurna Conservation Area (CA), Kanchanjungha CA and Manaslu CA. It is also recorded in India and Bhutan.
  • In 1904 and 1909 it was translocated to New Zealand from Nepal.
© L.R. Joshi & P. Adhikari

Biology

  • Size: Adult males measure 90-100 cm at the shoulder whereas the female is 84-89cm, and weight ranges from 90-160 kg in males and ca.50 kg in females (Harris 1976; Schaller 1977). In 2009, an adult Himalayan thar weight was recorded 110kg in Surtibang block of Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve.
  • Distinctive Characteristics: Himalayan thar is a large ungulate related to domestic goat but is different in many aspects. The thar has long robust limbs, narrow erect ears and backwardly curved horns. The horns are short, laterally flattened and backwardly curved upto 45 cm long with a basal circumference of 25cm in males and seldom exceeding 25 cm in length in females (prater 1971). The body is covered with tangled mass of coppery brown flowing hairs. The hair of the head is short while the hair on the neck and shoulder is modified into a shaggy mane, sweeping down to the knee.  The color of the hair depends on age (prater 1971). The matured males of more than 5 years are handsome with black faces and a voluminous, often light colored ruff. Males are larger and have different coloration and horn structure than the females.
  • Habits: Himalayan Thar are herbivores subsisting on grass, shrubs and trees. Male rarely come out for graze in open field. Sometimes they come out for grazing in dusk time. They shelter into the forest area of Quercus, Abies, Rhododendron, Pinus wallichiana and Nigalos.
  • Habitat: Its native habitat is in the rugged wooded hills and mountain slopes of the Himalaya. The prime habitat is between the altitudinal ranges of 3050m. to 3670m. They do not prefer habitat above than tree line.
  • Migration: Himalayan Thar seasonally migrated to adopt in harsh environmental condition of Himalayan region. During cold season, they migrated into downhill side. They usually live in sunny areas to save form cold. In summer, they gradually climb uphill side. They also suffered from flies and move upward. 

Reproductive behavior
The Thar is a gregarious animal. During the rutting season (Nov-Dec) they live together. The female usually give birth to single kids, rarely twins, within a gestation period of approximately 6.5 months (Caughley 1969 and 1971a). Young are born between May and June. The kids are hidden in bushes and caves for protection from predators.

Hunting of Himalayan Thar in Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve (DHR)

S.N.

Block Name

Total Tahr

Hunted Himalayan Tahr in DHR

FY 066/67

FY 067/68

Total Hunted Tahr

1

Sundaha

53

2

2

4

2

Seng

51

0

0

0

3

Dogadi

39

0

1

1

4

Ghustung

19

4

3

7

5

Barse

18

1

0

1

6

Phagune

52

3

2

5

7

Surtibang

72

7

0

7

 

Total

304

17

8

25

 ( Source: Pashupati Adhikari)

  • Altogether 304 number of Himalayan thar was counted in different 7 hunting blocks.
  • According Per wegge (1976) reported only 11-16 Himalayan thar can be hunted in one to two year interval. But, Thapa and Karki (2007) have recommended the 16 number each year.
  • Poaching, lack of research and rampant hunting permit are the major problems for sustainability of trophy hunting.

Interrelationship between livestock and Himalayan thar

Naturally, very little nutrient is recycled in cold region. In that situation, the role of livestock is crucial for nutrient recycling in rangeland. To maintain rangeland productivity and control unpalatable grasses there should have presence of  livestock. Therefore, livestock are equally important for the existence of Himalayan thar.

The main predators of the Himalayan Thar are snow leopard, common leopard and wolf. They help to maintain vigorous wild population. They prey old, diseased and weak individuals. Otherwise, the number of Himalayan Thar will be reduced due to infection of different diseases and parasites.

Related

 

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