Overview

Distribution

Range Description

The Formosan serow is endemic to Taiwan and is widely distributed in the mountainous regions throughout the island (McCullough 1974, Lue 1987, Pei 1992, Pei and Chiang 2004). It occupies elevations from 50 m to greater than 3,900 m just below the peak of Yu-shan, the highest mountain in the country. However, most populations today occupies regions higher than 1,000 m because most lowlands are encroached upon by human.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Formosan serow live in various mountainous habitats, from lowland tropical and subtropical rainforests, mixed broadleaf-conifer forests and warm temperate rainforests at mid-altitudes, to coniferous forests, alpine meadow, and tundra at the highest altitude range of 3,000 m~3,952 m (McCullough 1974, Lue 1987, Pei and Chiang 2004, Chiang 2007). They are adapted to steep and rugged terrain and may use the steep and craggy rock faces and cliffs to avoid predators. In forests lower than 3,000 m as in southern Taiwan, Formosan serow occurs more frequently at lower altitudes, at areas close to ridges and cliffs, and in steep, rugged or rocky terrain (Chiang 2007). At altitudes higher than 3,000 m, Formosan serow also occur in alpine grasslands dominated by Yushania niitakaymensis, in forests with Juniperus formosana, Juniperus squamata, Tsuga chinensis, and Abies kawakamii, and on cliff-tops (personal observations and Lue 1987). Populations can be high at high altitudes, particularly in remote areas or where there are cliffs.

The Formosan serow is intermediate feeder between selective browser and roughage eater (Hofmann 1985) with a tendency of being a selective browser (Hofmann 1985, Ochiai 1999). Formosan serow feeds on grasses, shrubs, browse, young twigs, some fruits, and even juvenile parts of conifers (McCullough 1974, Lue 1987). Based on information from aborigines, Lue (1987) stated that preferred food plants include, but are not limited to, Urtica fissa, Elatostema edule, Anisogonium esculentum, Begonia laciniata, Polygonum chinensis, Chamabainia cuspidate, Mussaenda parviflora, Perrottetia arisanensis, and Pellionia arisanensis. Analysis of relationships between forest structures and occurrence frequencies suggested that they may prefer disturbed and early-succession forests with gaps (Chiang 2007) where they could find grass and shrubs to browse (personal observations and McCullough 1974, Lue 1987).

Virtually nothing is known of its social organization. Captive animals mark objects with their infra-orbital glands and have localized dung sites; both behaviours are suggestive of territoriality (Chen 1987). Its reproduction is known almost exclusively from a limited number of captive animals (Wang and Chen 1981, Chen 1987). There is a single young born after seven months gestation (Smith and Xie 2008). Female Formosan serow are likely to be pregnant during September and November and give birth after March based on captive and hunters’ observations (Chen 1990). Formosan serow is mostly solitary (personal observation and Chen 1990), although captive groups with up to eight animals have been maintained (Chen 1987). Young Formosan serows were observed to follow their mothers with occasional hiding behaviour suggesting a follower type (Chen 1990). In the wild, young serows had also been photographed by camera traps to follow their parents in spring and fall (Pei and Chiang 2004).

Camera trapping data in remote areas with least human activities showed that Formosan serow is active day and night with significantly more diurnal activities (74% vs. 26%, Pei and Chiang 2004). It is most active during the 3 hours after sunrise and during the 4 hours before sunset (but lower activity levels than in the morning) and seasonal variations of activity levels were more pronounced in the afternoon (Pei and Chiang 2004). However, Formosan serow could become more nocturnal in areas close to human activities (Liu 2003).

Habitat segregation was found between Formosan serow, sambar deer (Cervus unicolor swinhoei) and Reeve’s muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi micrurus) (Chiang 2007). There may be competition in the wild with the sympatric sambar deer and Reeve’s muntjac, though the effects of these interactions require further research.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Naemorhedus swinhoei

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 2 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

AACCGCTGATTATTTTCAACTAACCATAAAGATATCGGCACTCTTTACCTCCTATTTGGTGCCTGAGCTGGCATAGTAGGAACTGCCCTA---AGCCTGCTAATTCGCGCTGAACTAGGCCAACCCGGAACTCTACTTGGAGAT---GACCAAATCTACAATGTAGTCGTAACCGCGCACGCATTCGTAATAATCTTTTTCATAGTAATACCTATTATAATTGGAGGCTTTGGCAACTGACTAGTTCCCTTAATA---ATTGGAGCCCCTGATATAGCATTTCCTCGGATAAACAACATAAGTTTTTGACTCCTCCCCCCTTCCTTCCTATTACTCCTGGCATCCTCTATGGTTGAAGCCGGAGCAGGGACAGGTTGAACCGTATACCCCCCTCTAGCAGGCAATTTAGCCCATGCAGGAGCCTCAGTAGACCTA---ACCATTTTCTCTCTACACCTGGCTGGTGTCTCCTCAATTTTAGGAGCCATTAATTTTATTACAACTATTATCAACATAAAACCTCCCGCAATATCACAATATCAAACCCCCCTATTCGTGTGATCCGTACTAATTACTGCCGTGCTACTCCTACTCTCACTCCCTGTACTAGCAGCT---GGCATTACAATACTGTTGACAGACCGAAACCTAAACACAACCTTCTTTGACCCGGCAGGAGGGGGGGACCCTATTTTATACCAACACCTATTTTGATTCTTTGGGCACCCTGAAGTATACATTCTCATTTTACCTGGGTTTGGGATAATCTCCCACATTGTAACCTACTATTCAGGAAAAAAA---GAACCATTTGGATATATAGGAATAGTATGAGCCATGATATCAATCGGATTCTTGGGATTTATTGTATGAGCCCATCACATATTTACAGTCGGAATAGACGTCGATACACGAGCCTACTTCACATCAGCTACCATAATTATTGCTATCCCAACCGGAGTGAAAGTCTTTAGCTGATTA---GCAACG
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Naemorhedus swinhoei

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Chiang, P.J. & Pei, K.J-C.

Reviewer/s
Harris, R. & Festa-Bianchet, M. (Caprinae Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

History
  • 1996
    Vulnerable
  • 1994
    Vulnerable
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Vulnerable
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Vulnerable
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
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Population

Population
There is no estimate of total population size. Surveys showed that the Formosan serow is still widely distributed throughout the island, from the north to the south (McCullough 1974, Lue 1987, Pei and Chiang 2004). However, since World War II, logging and agriculture have encroached upon the virgin forests inhabited by serow, resulting in significant habitat loss. In addition, heavy hunting pressure over the past decades may have caused the population to decline (McCullough 1974). An average density of 22 serows/km² was estimated in part of high altitudes of Yu-shan National Park (K. Y. Lue, unpublished data). Casual observations by park rangers, hikers and wildlife researchers suggest that serow populations may be increasing in recent years. This may due to reduced hunting activities for game meat market in the city because of tighter law enforcement. However, this impression might be confounded because more people are now involved in outdoor activities. More sightings of serow may lead to a biased impression of increasing populations. Population trends need further research.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
In the past, wildlife was a source of food for the local indigenous people in Taiwan. Because of the growth in the livestock industry over the past 40 years in Taiwan, food from wildlife is becoming less and less important and hunting serow is now banned throughout Taiwan. However, wild meat is still preferred over livestock meat in certain situations such as ceremonies or gifts. Better economic conditions may also increase the demand for wild meat. Wild meat is still taken through illegal hunting and hunting activity seems to have increased in recent years, partially because the immigration of foreign workers into Taiwan have caused unemployment among the indigenous people, who have returned to their villages and now practice hunting for a living. Nevertheless, current hunting pressure still seems lower compared to several decades ago. It is unknown whether current hunting pressure has a significant adverse effects on serow populations. In addition, forestry, agricultural, road construction activities in the mountainous regions have encroached upon the virgin forests originally inhabited by serow. The latest threat to serow comes from increasing recreational and tourist pressures, but the impact is unknown. Mortality related to skin parasites have also been reported (Pei and Chiang 2004, Tsai 2005) and confirmed (Chen and Pei 2007) and could be a potential threat to the serow populations in Taiwan.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Since 1989, the Formosan serow has been listed as a “Precious and Rare species” under Taiwan’s Wildlife Protection Act, and hunting the species is prohibited. Serow is protected in National Parks and in Nature Reserves. Recently, through the development of environmental-protection awareness and enforcement of related wildlife protection laws, conditions for serow have improved. Conservation measures proposed include: 1) conduct in-depth studies of their population biology and ecology, as well as the impact of the disease and parasites; 2) develop a community-based management and monitoring programme with aboriginal tribes.
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Wikipedia

Taiwan serow

The Taiwan serow (Capricornis swinhoei or Naemorhedus swinhoei) also known as the Formosan serow, is a small bovid endemic to the main island of Taiwan.[2]

Physical characteristics[edit]

Its torso length is 80–114 cm (31–45 in) and weight 25–35 kg (55–77 lb). Its tail is short, which measures about 6.5 cm.[2] Its color is dark tan with yellow spots on the jaw, throat and nape.[3]

Both sexes bear horns that curve slightly backward and measure 10-20 centimeters in length. The horns are conical in shape and are never shed.[2] The Formosan serow is the only native bovid of Taiwan.[3][4]

Life style and behavior[edit]

They are highly vigilant and not easy to observe. However, you can easily find their feces in Yushan National Park. At sunrises or sunsets, you can find them eating in the woods singly or in small numbers. They generally eat the leaves below the shoulder height, or vines, ferns, shrubs, or herbs on the ground. In addition, they need to absorb salt. So, you can find them licking minerals deposited on cliffs or rocks.[5]

Taiwan serows can jump as high as 2m and run as fast as 20 km per hour. Among all mammals in Taiwan, they are the best high jumpers. They can be found at an elevation as low as 50 meters, but is mostly seen at 1000 meters or up to 3500 meters.[6] Their habitats include conifer forest, mixed broad-leaved forests, and the steep slopes of bare rocks and gravel cliffs. You can sometimes spot them on top of Nanhu Mountain (南湖大山), Hsuehshan (雪山), Yushan (玉山), and Siouguluan Mountain (秀姑巒山). They also live in the Taroko National Park. Their hoofs separate to two sides and can easily hold on to rocks on steep slopes. They are also good tree climbers. They are solitary and territorial, which use tears to smear branches or stones as markers.[5]

Reproduction[edit]

September to November is Taiwan serow's mating season. Their gestation period lasts about seven months. Calves are delivered between next year's March and June. Usually it gives birth to one calf, but can sometimes deliver twins. New born calves can stand on their own in just a few hours. Three-month old calves can feed by themselves, but can still be nursed by mothers. Males do not take care of calves. From six-months to one-year old, calves gradually separate from mothers and live independently. They grow to sexual maturity in two to three years and can live up to approximately 15 years.[5]

Protected species[edit]

Since 1989, Formosan serows were listed as rare and valuable species (珍貴稀有保育類) and protected by Taiwan's Cultural Heritage Preservation Law (Traditional Chinese: 文化資產保存法). The main threats to the Formosan serow are habitat destruction and harvesting.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chiang, P.J. & Pei, K.J-C. (2008). "Capricornis swinhoei". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Capricornis swinhoei: Formosan serow". Ultimate Ungulate. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  3. ^ a b "Alpine Tundra Areas: Fauna". Government Information Office. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  4. ^ "A Formosan serow (Capricornis crispus swinhoei) fights for life". National Parks of Taiwan. May 20, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b c 徐佩霜 & 李培芬 (August 2001). "台灣長鬃山羊". National Taiwan University. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  6. ^ "Capricornis crispus swinhoei". National Taiwan University. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
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