In China the long-tailed goral is found in the northeast, and stretches along the Xiao Hinggan Ling mountains (Lesser Khingan range), along the lower reaches of Sungari and Amur rivers in eastern Jilin and Heilong Jiang, and eastern Liaoning, and includes the Changbaishan range (Jilin) on the border with North Korea (Wang 2002, Smith and Xie 2008).
In DPR Korea, little is known of the recent distribution of this species (Shackleton, 1997). It is likely that it occurs (or occurred) in the Hamgyong mountains which lie inland from the northeastern coastline, and in the Taebaek mountains in the southwest and which continue into the Republic of Korea. A third area where it may occur is the Nanghim mountains in the north-central part of North Korea. These are extensions of the Changhai mountains from Jilin (China).
In the Republic of Korea, it is restricted to the Seorak mountains at the northern end of the Taebaek range (Won 1997).
Naemorhedus caudatus is found in the mountain ranges of eastern and northern Asia, including eastern Russia, northeastern China, and Korea. In Russia, it is found in the southern portions of the Sikhote-Alin and Bureya mountain ranges and along many of the major rivers, such as the Khor, Kafen, Chuken, and Sukpay. In China, it is mainly found in the northeast part of the country, especially the Xiao Hinggan Ling mountains, as well as the Changbaishan range which is close to the border shared with North Korea. In Korea it is thought to be found in the Hamgyong and Taebaek mountains, although distributions there are not well known.
Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native )
Chinese gorals are small goat relatives, ranging in size from 22 to 32 kg, and standing 55 to 80 cm at the shoulder. They are agile over the rocky crags and cliffs they inhabit. Other distinguishing characteristics include backward-curving, cylindrical, and sharply pointed horns and a brownish gray to bright red coat. There is minimal sexual dimorphism, although males being slightly larger than females.
Range mass: 22 to 32 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger
Chinese, or long-tailed gorals prefer steep, mountainous habitat and are usually found in rocky terrain with evergreen and deciduous forests. They are also sometimes found on exposed grassy ridges.
Range elevation: 500 to 3,500 m.
Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; mountains
Habitat and Ecology
Chinese gorals are grazers and browsers, eating mostly grasses in the warm months and browsing on lichens and the leaves of evergreens and deciduous trees and shrubs in the winter. When snow is on the ground, they use their muzzles to push snow to uncover grass stems and shrubs. They may also eat fruit and nuts. They typically feed during the morning and late evening.
Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; lichens
Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore )
Chinese gorals impact vegetation in their native ecosystems through grazing and browsing. They are also preyed on by lynx, leopards, wolves, tigers, and humans. Chinese gorals are also parasitized by Taeniasis tapeworms. These parasitic infections are reported in captive gorals, but may exist in the wild as well.
Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds
- tapeworms (Taeniasis)
Predators of Chinese gorals include lynx, snow leopards, tigers, and wolves in some areas. Humans are also considered a predator as they hunt and poach them for their fur, meat, and parts that can be used in medicine. They do not flee until predators are almost upon them. When fleeing from a predator they bound uphill and away in irregular patterns consisting of long leaps, acting to confuse the predators.
- Snow leopards (Uncia uncia)
- Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx)
- tigers (Panthera tigris)
- wolves (Canis lupus)
Life History and Behavior
Chinese gorals communicate with one another in times of emergency with wheezing alarm sounds. They will stomp their foot in order to threaten a predator and warn other gorals in the area. During mating season, males attract females with a “zer… zer” or “ze-ze-ze” call. When females approach and are ready to encourage a male, they make a whistling noise. The naso-genital contact required during the mating season is a form of chemical communication.
Communication Channels: acoustic ; chemical
Other Communication Modes: pheromones
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
The average life span is approximately 15 years in the wild. Some captive gorals have lived to more than 17 years. In 1982 18 gorals died in an Indian zoo. Some of the causes for death of these captive gorals were taeniasis parasitic disease, pneumonia, gastroenteritis, and hepatitis.
Status: captivity: 17 (high) years.
Status: wild: 15 (high) years.
Status: captivity: 15 to 17 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
There is little information on mating systems in Chinese gorals. Males occupy marked territories of 22 to 25 hectares during the mating season. During rut, male red gorals (Naemorhedus baileyi), a closely related species, follow females closely in order to make naso-genital contact to determine whether the female has come into heat. Females that have not come into estrus will leave the area, while females that are in heat will stand for an approaching male and signal she is in estrus by raising her tail.
Mating System: polygynous
Male rut begins in late September to November and mating takes place in early winter. Estrus length is roughly 20 to 30 hours. Gestation length is roughly 180 days. On average, one kid is produced, but twins can also occur in rare situations. The young remain with their mother for about a year, although the time to weaning is not reported. Sexual maturity of the young is reached in the second to third year of age.
Breeding interval: Chinese gorals breed once yearly.
Breeding season: Breeding occurs in early winter.
Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average gestation period: 180 days.
Average time to independence: 1 years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 to 3 years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 to 3 years.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous
Specific behaviors pertaining to parental investment in Chinese gorals have not been well documented. Kids are typically born between April and May and stay with their mother for up to a year. During this time females tend to be less aggressive.
Parental Investment: precocial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female)
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Naemorhedus caudatus
No available public DNA sequences.
Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Naemorhedus caudatus
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
Chinese gorals are considered vulnerable species because of the estimated 30% decrease in populations in recent years. Chinese goral populations are declining as a result of habitat destruction, poaching by humans for their meat and use in traditional medicine, and competition from agriculture and domestic livestock in the areas they inhabit.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: appendix i
State of Michigan List: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1994Indeterminate(Groombridge 1994)
There are no estimates for DPR Korea. Won (1997) estimated less than 50 animals, but the basis for this is unclear. There are no reliable populations estimates for long-tailed goral in China. Smith and Xie (2008) considered it to be much reduced in numbers.
In Russia, it is listed as Category I of the Russian Red Data Book (Borodin 1984). It is protected in five Nature Reserves: Lazo Reserve harbours some, Sikhote-Alin Reserve has about 200, Zheleznyakovsky Sanctuary about 50, Vasilkovsky Sanctuary about 50, and an unknown but small number in Ussuri Reserve (Myslenkov and Voloshina, 1989). Captive breeding programs are being carried out in Lazo and Sikhote-Alin Reserves. Conservation measures proposed for Russia: 1) Reintroduce goral in appropriate areas formerly inhabited by the species to help restore its range. 2) Enlarge the size of the Sikhote-Alin Reserve to include the area south along the coastline. 3) Prohibit boats from approaching protected shores, keeping a distance of at least 0.5 km.
In North Korea, two areas proposed as Biosphere Reserves (Poore 1986), Mount Myohyung Nature Reserve (37,500 ha) 180 km NE of Pyongyang and Mount Paektu (Paekdu) Biosphere Reserve (132,000 ha; 41°56’N, 128°10’E), are reported to have goral. These proposed reserves lie across the border from the Changbaishan Biosphere Reserve in Jilin (China). Its status within North Korea is Indeterminate. Conservation measures proposed for North Korea: 1) Surveys of population status and distribution, followed by 2) development of conservation actions.
In South Korea, the Amur goral has been designated as a Natural Treasure by the Cultural Property Preservation Law in 1968, while hunting of all species was banned throughout the mainland between 1972 and 1981 (Won, 1979). Mount Seorak National Park, which contains goral, was approved as a Biosphere Reserve in 1982, and is protected by the National Monument Protection Law (No. 2233) of 1910, the law of Forestry (act 67.68) of 1908, and the National Park Law of 1962. Goral is found in two protected areas in South Korea; in Mount Seorak National Park, and rarely in Mount Odae National Park. Goral was designated as Natural Monument No. 217 on 14 November 1968 and theoretically receives full protection. Conservation measures proposed for South Korea: 1) Fully re-evaluate the species’ status. 2) Determine the feasibility of providing adequate protection through enforcing current protection measures, creating additional protected areas, or both. 3) Determine if captive breeding may also be required. However, without adequate habitat protection, this measure would be basically academic.
In China, long-tailed goral are categorized as a Class II species. It occus in most of the nature reserves located within its range in the North China and the Northeast China Regions. These include Taoshan and Jinpuohu (Heilongjiang); Chanbaishan and Zuojia (Jilin); and Suzihe (Liaoning).
The taxonomic validity of this species, and its relationship to other species in the genus Naemorhedus needs to be assessed.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
There are no known adverse effects of Chinese gorals on humans, although some human populations object to their potential competition with domestic livestock.
Chinese gorals are hunted for meat and parts are used for traditional medicinal uses.
Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material
The long-tailed goral (Naemorhedus caudatus) is a species of wild goat found in the mountains of eastern and northern Asia, including Russia, China, and Korea. A population of this species exists in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, near the tracks of the Donghae Bukbu Line. The species is classified as endangered in South Korea, with an estimated population less than 250. It has been designated South Korean natural monument 217. In 2003, the species was reported as being present in Arunachal Pradesh, in northeast India.
The long-tailed goral (also known as the Chinese gray goral) was and is sparsely found in the wild throughout China, Russia, and Korea in the Himalayas. The main population in the wild today is found in Russia where there is a population of about 600 which is in decline; in other places the populations are below 200.
Many of these animals are kept in zoos throughout the world. (e.g., The Wilds of Ohio, Saint Louis Zoo, Woodlands Park Zoo, Seattle WA, Los Angeles Zoo, Minnesota Zoo)
The long-tailed goral prefers high elevations with rocky, dry, steep, cliff-ridden mountains. They make their homes near sparsely vegetated cliffs with small crevices where they can hide from danger. These areas are sometimes covered by evergreen and deciduous forests, and gorals are occasionally found feeding on exposed grassy ridges.
The goral is a group-oriented species and lives in packs with two to 12 individuals. The groups consist of females, kids, and younger males; older males tend to be solitary.
The animals tend to stay within a 100-acre range; this can be different for males in rut. Males in rut will travel long distances over rough terrain to find as many females to fertilize as possible.
The long-tailed goral appears very similar to goats. Males can weigh 62-93 lbs and females 49-77 lbs. Lengths can vary anywhere from 32 to 51 inches and shoulder height 20-31 inches. They are even-toed ungulates of the goat-antelope family. The tips of their horns curve back and have distinct rings. There are openings between their hooves. The face of a goral is flat like that of a serow, and the nose and eyes are very close together. It has brown fur with shades of gray; the outer fur is long. The bushy tail is usually dark brown or black in color. Females usually are lighter in shade than that of males; their horns are smaller than males' horns.
Gorals are considered to be browsers because they eat a wide variety of grasses, woody material, and nuts and fruits. In the summer months, they tend to feed on the many grasses that grow on the mountains. Throughout the winter, they browse on woody twigs and leaves of trees and shrubs; they have been known to eat nuts, such as acorns, and a few fruits.
The goral's average lifespan in the wild is 10–15 years, although a captive goral was aged at 17 years." The females will go into a 30-40 hour estrus cycle once per year, when they can be fertilized by a male. At the end of a 215-day gestation period, they give birth to one offspring, or very rarely twins." Breeding within the zoo systems has been successful, with the San Diego Zoo especially so.
The long-tailed goral is protected under Appendix I of CITES, and numerous reserves have been set aside, but they are not the main focus of the reserves; however, they are protected when they are on these properties. In China, the long-tailed goral is a Class II species, meaning it is protected. It is poorly enforced because of the animals' uses in traditional medicine. The only conservation effort is bringing these animals into captivity within the zoo system, which should prevent it from going extinct. Poaching of wild gorals is increasing; they are poached for their fur, meat, and horns. They are also poached because some of their parts are used in traditional medicine. Their natural predators are also affecting the population. Their predators include lynx, snow leopards, tigers, and wolves in some regions.
The agriculture business has not been kind to the goral; their habitat is being destroyed rapidly by the slash-and-burn technique — their natural habitats are being farmed and used for livestock. The domestic livestock are grazing off all the grasses, leaving nothing for the native goral to eat. They are losing space in zoos, because they are not a very "sexy" animal. The gorals are being replaced with more attractive animals, such as tigers, lions, and bears; this is strictly an economic issue, because the more attractive animals at the zoo bring more guests who will come and spend money.
Eliminating poaching will be very tough to do, since the majority it done for food to feed the poachers' families. Increasing ecotourism would bring money to the poachers, so they would not have to further endanger the goral population. Farmers should not use the goral entire habitat, and maybe create a sharing system between the domestic livestock and the native goral. The population in zoos are healthy, so reintroduction of this species is needed, with reserves established for a reintroduction program. The goral has been on the endangered species list for some time, and nothing has really changed in its conservation status. As long as the population continues to decline, the long-tailed goral's outlook is not a healthy one.
- Grubb, P. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
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- Kim, K., Cho, D. 2005. Status and ecological resource value of the Republic of Korea’s De-militarized Zone, Landscape Ecol. Eng. 1: 3–15 PDF
- Charudutt Mishra, Aparajita Datta and M.D. Madhusudan (2005), Record of the Chinese goral Naemorhedus caudatus in Arunachal Pradesh. JBNHS Vol. 102(2)
- Crane, M., J. Willard and J. Grant. 2009. "Naemorhedus caudatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 27, 2011
- Duckworth, J.W., MacKinnon, J. & Tsytsulina, K. 2008. Naemorhedus caudatus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>.
- Nowak, Ronald M., ed. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. 5th Edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London. 1,629p.
- "Thai Wildlife : Rare or Extinct : Goral (Chinese Goral)." Thai Society for the Conservation of Wild Animals. The Society for the Convservation of Wild Animals, 28 Sept. 2001. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. http://www.tscwa.org/wildlife/rare_or_extinct_09.html
- "Thai Wildlife : Rare or Extinct : Goral (Chinese Goral)." Thai Society for the Conservation of Wild Animals. The Society for the Convservation of Wild Animals, 28 Sept. 2001. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <http://www.tscwa.org/wildlife/rare_or_extinct_09.html>.
- Patton, Marilyn L., Lance Aubrey, Mark Edwards, Randy Rieches, Jeff Zuba, and Valentine A. Lance. "Successful Contraception in a Herd of Chinese Goral (Nemorhaedus Goral Arnouxianus) with Melengestrol Acetate." Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 31.2 (2000): 228-30. American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Web. 11 July 2011.
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