Chinese Goral (Nemorhaedus caudatus)
Long-tailed goral are found in eastern Russia (Primorsky
and Khabarovsk Territories), northeastern China, the Republic of Korea, and the
Democratic People’s Republic (DPR) of Korea (Grubb, 2005). In Russia,
long-tailed goral were previously distributed along almost the entire southern
half of Sikhote-Alin range, (i.e. the entire Primorsky Territory and southern
part of Khabarovsk Territory) and on the southern end of the Bureya range,
although its occurrence in this last area is uncertain. In the 1960s and 1970s
goral were repeatedly observed along the left tributaries of the Khor river,
along the Kafen, Chuken and Sukpay rivers, on the western slopes of Central
Sikhote-Alin (approximately 47°N, 137°E) (Dunishenko, 1983). The third part of
this species range occupies mostly the eastern slope of Sikhote-Alin along the
coast of the Sea of Japan, between 43°40'N and 45°N, and also all the southern
end of Sikhote-Alin range (Myslenkov and Voloshina, 1989). The fourth part
occurs along the Chinese-Russian border in the Khasan region. A fifth area
reportedly exists along the same border south of Khanka lake. Its distribution
within these parts is patchy because goral are confined to specific
habitat—steep rocky slopes covered with sparse, montane broad-leaved forest,
from sea level to about 1,000 m (Heptner et al., 1961).
In China the long-tailed goral is found in the northeast, and stretches along the Xiao Hinggan Ling mountains (Lesser Khingan range), along the lower reaches of Sungari and Amur rivers in eastern Jilin and Heilong Jiang, and eastern Liaoning, and includes the Changbaishan range (Jilin) on the border with North Korea (Wang 2002, Smith and Xie 2008).
In DPR Korea, little is known of the recent distribution of this species (Shackleton, 1997). It is likely that it occurs (or occurred) in the Hamgyong mountains which lie inland from the northeastern coastline, and in the Taebaek mountains in the southwest and which continue into the Republic of Korea. A third area where it may occur is the Nanghim mountains in the north-central part of North Korea. These are extensions of the Changhai mountains from Jilin (China). said to have been seen in the mountains of northern Thailand are probably erroneous
In the Republic of Korea, it is restricted to the Seorak mountains at the northern end of the Taebaek range (Won 1997).
China; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Russian Federation
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.
In 1977, the total number in Russia was estimated at 600 to
750 animals (Bromley, 1977). Myslenkov and Voloshina (1989) indicated no decline
in numbers or disappearance of any known local population, and that numbers
along the Sea of Japan may have been slowly increasing. Lazo District has about
300 animals, Terneisky District around 250, Olginsky District 80, and
Dalnegorsky District 15 to 20 goral. Population density in several places, for
example in Sikhote-Alin Reserve, reaches 35 animals/km˛. In South Korea, less
than 50 animals are estimated to remain on Konbong mountain in Konsong-gun,
Kangwon Province, near the demilitarised zone (DMZ) (Won, 1988).
There are no estimates for DPR Korea. Won (1997) estimated less than 50 animals, but the basis for this is unclear. There are no reliable populations estimates for long-tailed goral in China. Smith and Xie (2008) considered it to be much reduced in numbers.
Population Trend: Decreasing
Habitat and Ecology:
The species inhabits steep mountainous areas and will
sometimes use evergreen forests near cliffs, but primarily stays within rugged,
rocky terrain. It inhabits steep and rocky terrain in evergreen and deciduous
forests, especially with exposed grassy ridges from about 500-2,000 m asl. It
eats a wide range of plant material: grass, herbs and shoots, leaves of small
trees, nuts, and even some fruit. Group home range size is typically around 40
hectares, with males occupying marked territories of 22-25 hectares during the
mating season. They typically live in small groups of 4-12 individuals, with
older males usually solitary. Gorals are diurnal, and are most active in the
early morning and late evening, but can be active throughout on overcast days.
It keeps to steeper slopes where it is very agile over rocky crags and cliffs.
The gestation length is 250-260 days (Myslenkov and Voloshina, 1989). Males and
females reach sexual maturity at approximately three years, with a lifespan of
up to 15 years or so. Mating takes place in early winter, and one, or rarely
two-three, kids born about six months later.
The threats in Russia are poaching, which may be increasing.
In DPR Korea and the Republic of Korea, major threats to its survival include
habitat loss due to forestry, agriculture, and poaching. Threats in China
include hunting, snaring, habitat degradation, and competition from domestic
livestock (Smith and Xie 2008). Hunting is both for traditional medicine, and
All gorals are listed on Appendix I of CITES.
In Russia, it is listed as Category I of the Russian Red Data Book (Borodin 1984). It is protected in five Nature Reserves: Lazo Reserve harbours some, Sikhote-Alin Reserve has about 200, Zheleznyakovsky Sanctuary about 50, Vasilkovsky Sanctuary about 50, and an unknown but small number in Ussuri Reserve (Myslenkov and Voloshina, 1989). Captive breeding programs are being carried out in Lazo and Sikhote-Alin Reserves. Conservation measures proposed for Russia: 1) Reintroduce goral in appropriate areas formerly inhabited by the species to help restore its range. 2) Enlarge the size of the Sikhote-Alin Reserve to include the area south along the coastline. 3) Prohibit boats from approaching protected shores, keeping a distance of at least 0.5 km.
In North Korea, two areas proposed as Biosphere Reserves (Poore 1986), Mount Myohyung Nature Reserve (37,500 ha) 180 km NE of Pyongyang and Mount Paektu (Paekdu) Biosphere Reserve (132,000 ha; 41°56’N, 128°10’E), are reported to have goral. These proposed reserves lie across the border from the Changbaishan Biosphere Reserve in Jilin (China). Its status within North Korea is Indeterminate. Conservation measures proposed for North Korea: 1) Surveys of population status and distribution, followed by 2) development of conservation actions.
In South Korea, the Amur goral has been designated as a Natural Treasure by the Cultural Property Preservation Law in 1968, while hunting of all species was banned throughout the mainland between 1972 and 1981 (Won, 1979). Mount Seorak National Park, which contains goral, was approved as a Biosphere Reserve in 1982, and is protected by the National Monument Protection Law (No. 2233) of 1910, the law of Forestry (act 67.68) of 1908, and the National Park Law of 1962. Goral is found in two protected areas in South Korea; in Mount Seorak National Park, and rarely in Mount Odae National Park. Goral was designated as Natural Monument No. 217 on 14 November 1968 and theoretically receives full protection. Conservation measures proposed for South Korea: 1) Fully re-evaluate the species’ status. 2) Determine the feasibility of providing adequate protection through enforcing current protection measures, creating additional protected areas, or both. 3) Determine if captive breeding may also be required. However, without adequate habitat protection, this measure would be basically academic.
In China, long-tailed goral are categorized as a Class II species. It occurs in most of the nature reserves located within its range in the North China and the Northeast China Regions. These include Taoshan and Jinpuohu (Heilongjiang); Chanbaishan and Zuojia (Jilin); and Suzihe (Liaoning).
The taxonomic validity of this species, and its relationship to other species in the genus Naemorhedus needs to be assessed.