The Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus) is a relative to the wild goat that roams across the breadth of the Himalayas. Adult male tahrs can weigh up to 120kg and are known for their large reddish brown coats with large manes in the winter. They roam between 2,500 and 5,200m and can often be found in sub-alpine forests where there are rhododendron shrubs.
Diet, ecology & behaviour
Tahrs survive mostly on grasses, leaves, herbs, and occasionally fruit. They are diurnal and often travel in small groups of about 15 but groups of up to 80 have been reported. During the day, they often head up the mountainsides eating as they go only to return down the mountain later in the day. Tahrs are very shy and will often flee up steep slopes at the first sign of danger. They are a common prey of snow leopards and other Himalayas cats and therefore wary of any attempt to approach them.
Having said that they are shy, ask anyone who has taken a picture of one, and they’ll tell you they love having their picture taken from quite close up, or so it seems. They certainly know the difference between a camera and a predator.
Due to hunting and habitat destruction the himalayan tahr was placed on the IUCN’s vulnerable list of threatened species. However, the tahr has been introduced in many places, like New Zealand and South Africa, and has thrived to the point where they are considered a pest. Both countries have since attempted to cull the now invasive species in an attempt to control its population numbers.