Rare Himalyan Serow spotted in Spiti Valley.

13 December 2020.

Introduction:

Rare and shy Himalayan Serow has beeb spotted in the Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh.This is the first recorded human sighting of the serow in Himachal Pradesh. The animal has been spotted a few times earlier in the state, but that has always been through camera traps.

About the Himalayan Serow:

  • The Himalayan serow (Capricornis thar) is a medium-sized goat like antelope, native to the montane forests of the Himalayas. 
  • It is considered a flagship species due to its specialized habitat requirements of dense and undisturbed forests
  • Taxonomically, Himalayan serow is a subspecies of the mainland serow 
  • There are several species of serows, and all of them are found in Asia. 
  • The Himalayan serow,  is restricted to the Himalayan region.
  • Himalayan serows are herbivores
  • Habitat: They inhabit steep hills with rocky slopes, especially limestone regions up to 3,000 m above sea level, and also in hill and mountain forest areas with gentler terrain. Serows prefer damp and thickly wooded gorges and typically occur at altitudes between 1,500-4,000 m
  • Distribution:They are known to be found in eastern, central, and western Himalayas, but not in the Trans Himalayan region.
  • Description: An appearance of a goat with long, donkey like ears, and a habit of standing with forelegs astraddle, make the Serow an ungainly goat antelope. Its coarse coat(long hair length than the Goral) varies from black to red. 
  • It’s a medium-sized mammal with a large head, thick neck, short limbs, long, mule-like ears, and a coat of dark hair.
  • IUCN Status:
  • According to IUCN, Himalayan serows have experienced significant declines in population size, range size and habitat in the last decade, and this is expected to continue due to intensive human impact.
  • Himalayan serow is categorized as ‘vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • It is listed under Schedule I of The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which provides absolute protection.
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