Arabian tahr

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Arabian tahr
Stuffed Arabian Tahr.jpg
Stuffed tahr at the Natural History Museum of the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture in Al-Khuwair, Muscat, Oman
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Caprinae
Genus: Arabitragus
Ropiquet & Hassanin, 2005
Species:
A. jayakari
Binomial name
Arabitragus jayakari
(Thomas, 1894)
Arabitragus jayakari.png
Distribution of the tahr in the region of Al Hajar Mountains of Oman and the UAE in Eastern Arabia
Synonyms

Hemitragus jayakari

The Arabian tahr (Arabitragus jayakari) is a species of tahr native to eastern Arabia. Until recently, it was placed in the genus Hemitragus , but genetic evidence supports its removal to a separate monotypic genus.

Contents

The Arabian tahr is the smallest species of tahr. The animal is of stocky build with backward-arching horns in both sexes. Males are much more robust than females. Their coats consist 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. In the oldest males the muzzle darkens to black and the eye stripes also darken. As with most mountain goats and sheep, they have rubber-like hooves to provide balance and traction on the steep, rocky slopes.

Habitat and range

The Arabian tahr lives on steep rocky slopes of Al Hajar Mountains in Oman and the United Arab Emirates, at altitudes up to 1,800 m (5,900 ft) above sea level. It is also found in the area of Jebel Hafeet. [2] [3] [4]

Taxonomy and etymology

Image by Joseph Smit, in the collection of the Zoological Society of London HemitragusJayakariSmit.jpg
Image by Joseph Smit, in the collection of the Zoological Society of London

The species was first described from specimens obtained by Dr. A.S.G. Jayakar from Jebel Taw and originally given the name Hemitragus jayakari. [6] It was separated into the newly created genus Arabitragus on the basis of a study on the molecular phylogeny of the group in 2005. [7]

The genus name Arabitragus is derived from the Greek words aravikós meaning "Arabian" and trágos meaning "goat". [8] [9]

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. Instead of forming herds during seasonal ruts, reproduction occurs in small, dispersed family units. Births have been reported as occurring throughout the year, and gestation lasts from 140–145 days.

Diet and predation

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

The goat was likely preyed upon by the Arabian leopard. [10]

Threats

The Arabian tahr is endangered due to intense overgrazing, poaching, and habitat destruction. [10] In Oman, a recent increase of human migration to urban areas has resulted in domestic goats becoming feral and foraging in places that were once strictly the tahr's home. Habitat degradation is also another major threat, due to construction of roads, buildings, and mineral extraction. Also, poaching often occurs when the animals descend down from the mountains for water.

Conservation

Tahr at Al Ain Zoo near Jebel Hafeet in the UAE Animals at Al Ain Zoo Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.jpg
Tahr at Al Ain Zoo near Jebel Hafeet in the UAE

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 to reintroduce captive-bred individuals back into the wild. Three institutions are now involved, one in Oman and two in the United Arab Emirates, but many people seem to be unaware about the tahr's grave situations, leading to other conservation initiatives to focus on the publicity and educational campaigns to raise the animals' profile. In April 2009, the Wadi Wurayah preserve in the Emirate of Fujairah was set aside by royal decree in the Emirates for the protection of the tahr. [4] [11] Another place in the UAE, Sir Bani Yas in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, was also set up for its conservation. [4] [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

Geography of Oman Geographical features of Oman

Oman is a country on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, situated in Southwest Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The coast of Oman was an important part in the Omani empire and sultanate.

Geography of the United Arab Emirates List of the United Arab Emirates geographical features

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Tahr

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Caprinae Subfamily of mammals

The subfamily Caprinae is part of the ruminant family Bovidae, and consists of mostly medium-sized bovids. A member of this subfamily is called a caprine, or, more informally, a goat-antelope.

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Musandam Peninsula Place

The Musandam Peninsula, locally known as Ruus Al Jibal, is a peninsula that forms the northeastern point of the Arabian Peninsula. It is located to the south of the Strait of Hormuz between the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. It is inhabited by the Shihuh tribe and is mainly governed by Oman as the Musandam Governorate with certain parts governed by the United Arab Emirates, including Ras Al Khaimah and parts of Dibba.

Jebel Hafeet mountain on the Arabian Peninsula

Jabal Hafeet is a mountain in the region of Tawam, on the border of the United Arab Emirates and Oman, which may be considered an outlier of Al Hajar Mountains in Eastern Arabia. Due to its proximity to the main Hajar range, the mountain may be considered as being part of the Hajar range, sensu lato. To the north is the UAE city of Al Ain, in the Eastern Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and the adjacent Omani town of Al-Buraimi.

Sir Bani Yas Island in United Arab Emirates

Ṣīr Banī Yās is a natural island located 170 km (110 mi) southwest of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It lies 9 km (5.6 mi) offshore from Jebel Dhanna, which serves as a crossing point to other islands such as Dalma. Sir Bani Yas is 17.5 km (10.9 mi) from north to south and 9 km (5.6 mi) from east to west, making it the largest natural island in the United Arab Emirates. Located just off the shore of the western region of Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas was originally home to Arabia's largest wildlife reserve. Spanning over 87 km2 (34 sq mi), the reserve was established in 1977 by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Thanks to decades of conservation work and ecological investment, it is now home to thousands of large free-roaming animals and several million trees and plants. A bird sanctuary as well as a wildlife reserve, Sir Bani Yas showcases nature through activities such as adventure safaris, kayaking, mountain biking, archery, hiking and snorkeling.

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Jebel Jais is a mountain of the North-Western Hajar range in the Musandam Governorate of Oman and also in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. The summit has an elevation of 1,934 m (6,345 ft). The summit is located on the Omani side, but a high point west of this peak is considered the highest point in the United Arab Emirates, at 1,892 m (6,207 ft) above sea level, and with around 10m of prominence. Since the summit is on the Omani side, Jebel Al Mebrah, at 1,727 m (5,666 ft), is the highest peak in the UAE, with significant prominence.

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The Gulf of Oman desert and semi-desert is a coastal ecoregion on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in Oman and the United Arab Emirates at the northeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. The climate is hot and dry, with gravelly plains and savanna with thorny acacia trees inland from the coast.Along the coast there are mixture of habitats that include mangrove swamps, lagoons and mudflats. The mangrove areas are dominated by Avicennia marina and the savanna by Prosopis cineraria and Vachellia tortilis. Masirah Island is an important breeding area for the loggerhead sea turtle and other sea turtles also occur here, as well as a great variety of birds, some resident and some migratory. There are some protected areas, but in general the habitats have been degraded by the grazing of livestock, especially camels and goats; they are also at risk from oil spills, off-road driving and poaching.

Al Ain Zoo

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References

  1. Ross, S.; Al-Rawahi, H.; Al-Jahdhami, M.H.; Spalton, J.A.; Mallon, D.; Al-Shukali, A.S.; Al-Rasbi, A.; Al-Fazari, W.; Chreiki, M.K. (2019) [errata version of 2019 assessment]. "Arabitragus jayakari". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2019: e.T9918A156925170. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T9918A156925170.en .
  2. WAM (2017-09-13). "EAD raises awareness on Abu Dhabi's natural heritage at ADIHEX 2017". The Gulf Today . Archived from the original on 2018-03-30. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  3. De Leon, J. P. (2014-05-26). "100th Arabian tahr, and twin tahrs welcomed in Al Ain". Gulf News . Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  4. 1 2 3 "Newborn Arabian tahr discovered on Jebel Hafeet". The National . 2015-03-12. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  5. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. The Zoological Society of London. 1894. p. 534.
  6. Thomas, Oldfield (1894). "On some specimens of mammals from Oman, S.E.Arabia": 448–455.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. Ropiquet, A. & Hassanin, A. 2005. Molecular evidence for the polyphyly of the genus Hemitragus (Mammalia, Bovidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36(1):154-168
  8. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (1940). "ραβία". A Greek–English Lexicon (Ninth ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  9. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (1940). "τράγος". A Greek–English Lexicon (Ninth ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  10. 1 2 Edmonds, J.-A.; Budd, K. J.; Al Midfa, A. & Gross, C. (2006). "Status of the Arabian Leopard in United Arab Emirates" (PDF). Cat News (Special Issue 1): 33–39.
  11. "Arabian Tahr gets royal protection". WWF . 2009-04-28. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  12. "Endangered Arabian tahr born on Sir Bani Yas Island". Gulf News . 2018-01-13. Retrieved 2018-04-02.

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