Himalayan Serow

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 27, 2022, 5:30

According to a biologist, a Himalayan Serow looks like a hybrid between a goat, a donkey, a cow, and a pig. Himalayan Serow is a medium-sized mammal with a colossal head, thick neck, short limbs, long, mule-like ears, and a dark-haired coat.

Serows come in various species, all of which are located in Asia. The Himalayan Serow, also known as Capricornis sumatraensis thar, is only found in the Himalayas. It is classified as a subspecies of the mainland serow (Capricornis sumatraensis).

Himalayan Serow Characteristics

Description: Himalayan Serow looks like a mix of a goat, a donkey, a cow, and a pig.

Physical Features: The Himalayan Serow is a mammal with a colossal head, tiny legs, long ears, and a dark-haired coat on its body.

Types of species: Serows come in various shapes and sizes, and they're all native to Asia. The Himalayan Serow, Capricornis sumatraensis thar, can only be found in the Himalayas. According to taxonomy, it's a mainland serow subspecies (Capricornis sumatraensis).

Diet: They are known to be herbivores.

Habitat: Himalayan Serows are found at altitudes ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 meters (6,500 to 13,000 feet). They can be found in the Himalayas' eastern, central, and western regions, but not in the Trans Himalayan region.

Himalayan Serow Taxonomy

Brian Houghton Hodgson originally reported a goat-like animal with short annulated horns found in highland regions between the Sutlej and Teesta Rivers in 1831, giving it the name 'Bubaline Antelope'. Since the 'Bubaline' was already used as a category for African buffaloes, he gave it the scientific name Antelope thar. The Himalayan Serow was designated as a type of species of the genus Capricornis by William Ogilby when he described it in 1838.

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Himalayan Serow - Geographical Features

They are usually found between 2,000 and 4,000 meters above sea level. They can be found in the Himalayas' eastern, central, and western regions, but not in the Trans Himalayan region. The Trans-Himalayan Mountain Region, also known as the Tibet Himalayan Region, is located to the north of the Great Himalayas and includes the mountain ranges of Karakoram, Ladakh, Zaskar, and Kailash.

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Himalayan Serow - Sightings

The animal was discovered near Hurling village in Himachal Pradesh's Spiti region. Spiti is located in the western Himalaya's cold mountain desert region, with an average elevation of 4,270 meters above sea level. The sighting is unusual because Serows are rarely seen at this altitude. This is the first time a person has seen the Serow in Himachal Pradesh.

The animal has been seen in the state a few times before, but it has always been through camera traps.

The Himalayan Serow has also been seen in the Rupi Bhaba Wildlife Sanctuary and Chamba's higher elevations. Locals know the Sanctuary for its vast alpine pastures and the numerous treks, paths, and passes that connect it to the nearby Great Himalayan National Park and Pin Valley National Park.

The Himalayan Serow is not a commonly seen animal and its unique physical features make it visually extraordinary. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the population of this animal has declined in the last decade. It is currently categorised as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List.

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FAQs on Himalayan Serow

Q1. The Himalayan Serow is the official state animal of which state?

The Himalayan Serow is the official state animal of Mizoram.

Q2. What is the conservation status of the Himalayan Serow?

The conservation status of the Himalayan Serow is marked vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.

Q3. What is the scientific name of the Himalayan Serow?

The scientific name of the Himalayan Serow is Capricornis Sumatraensis thar.

Q4. Where was the Himalayan Serow spotted recently?

The Himalayan Serow was spotted in the Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh.