West Caucasian turs are native only to the western Caucasus Mountains in Georgia and south-western Russia ("Protected Areas Program" 2001).
Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native )
Body length for adult males is between 120 and 165 cm, with shoulder height between 78 and 109 cm. Horns of West Caucasian tur average 75 cm and occur in both males and females. They are scimitar-shaped, ridged, and appear as rounded triangles in cross-sections. Their pelage is "rusty gray to rusty chestnut, becoming lighter in the flanks" (Nowak 1991). The legs are dark brown. Males have a small beard under the chin. Tail length ranges from 10 to 14 cm (Nowak 1991).
Range mass: 65 to 100 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: ornamentation
- Nowak, R. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
West Caucasian turs have one of the smallent habitats of all ungulates. They are native only to about 4,500 square kilometers in the western Caucasus Mountains. They live in elevations ranging from 800 to 4,200 meters. Forests are found leading up to 2,000 meters. Above this, there are alpine meadows and rocky talus slopes. Elevations above 2,900 meters are permanantly snow-covered (Huffman 2000; "Protected Areas Program" 2001).
Terrestrial Biomes: taiga ; mountains
Habitat and Ecology
At high population densities, summer herd size average 11.7 animals, while in winter this rises to 20.3 individuals (Kotov, 1968). Population densities in summer may reach 13 animals/km², more than tripling in wintering areas to 44 animals/km² (Kotov, 1968). The sex ratio usually favors females (Kotov, 1968; Bobyr, 2002; Romashin, 2001).
The rut lasts from mid-November until the beginning of January; birthing season takes place in May-July. Only one kid is born. One month after parturition, average proportion of kids is 13%, but yearlings only 5-9% (Bobyr, 2002; Kotov, 1968; Romashin, 2001; Zalikhanov, 1967). Western tur are preyed upon by wolf (Canis lupus) and lynx (Lynx lynx), but snow avalanches cause most natural deaths (Bobyr, 2002; Kotov, 1968; Zalikhanov, 1967). The leopard (Panthera pardus), while formerly a major predator of C. caucasica, is now very rare in the Caucasus.
Western tur coexist with chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), dominating the latter throughout the year (Kotov, 1968; Romashin, 2001). The proportions of kids in the populations are mutually negatively correlated in both species, but more markedly so in chamois (Romashin, 2001). The diet of C. caucasica contains over a hundred recorded species of plants, especially grasses. In winter, animals often browse on pine, spruce and willow. Salt licks are visited mostly in the end of spring to beginning of summer (Bobyr, 2002; Kotov, 1968; Zalikhanov, 1967).
West Caucasian turs are herbivorous. In summer their diet consists of a wide variety of plants and grasses. They tend to feed in the morning, rest in the heat of early afternoon, then feed again in late afternoon and evening. In winter their diet contains the leaves of trees and shrubs and they graze in open pastures throughout the day. Turs have been known to travel as much as 20 km a day if their resting and feeding sites are separated (Nowak 1991).
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Status: captivity: 19.3 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
The mating season for West Caucasian turs lasts from late November to early January. Males fight aggressively during this season over females. Gestation lasts for 150 to 160 days. There is usually only one young born, rarely two, which average 3.5 to 4.2 kg at birth. Although young kids starts eating grass at about one month old, they are not weaned until three months old. Sexual maturity is reached at about two years old in females and five years old for males. Life expectancy is 12 to 13 years (Grzimek 1990; Nowak 1991).
Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.
Average number of offspring: 1.08.
Range gestation period: 5 to 5.33 months.
Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual
Average birth mass: 3850 g.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Parental Investment: altricial
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Capra caucasica
Below is the 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.
Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Capra caucasica
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
Unregulated hunting in the early 1900's seriously threatened populations of West Caucasian turs. The creation of a nature preserve where they occur has enabled their numbers to increase slightly in recent years. The current population is estimated at under 10,000 (Nowak 1991).
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1994Rare(Groombridge 1994)
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
West Caucasian turs are popular trophies for hunters. Safaris make large amounts of money allowing hunters to kill these animals ("Safari and Expeditions" 2001).
Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material
West Caucasian tur
West Caucasian turs stand up to 1 m (3.3 ft) tall at the shoulder and weigh around 65 kg (143 lb). They have large but narrow bodies and short legs. West Caucasian turs have a chestnut coat with a yellow underbelly and darker legs. Their horns are scimitar-shaped and heavily ridged. In males, these horns are around 70 cm (28 in), while in females they are much smaller.
West Caucasian turs live in rough mountainous terrain between 800 and 4,000 m (2,600 and 13,100 ft) above sea level, where they eat mainly grasses and leaves and are preyed upon by wolves and lynxes. They are nocturnal, eating in the open at night and sheltering during the day. Females live in herds of around 10 individuals, while males are solitary.
The wild population is estimated to be between 5,000 and 6,000 individuals.
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