Capra cylindricornis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Capra cylindricornis (Blyth, 1841)
Common Name(s):
English Eastern Tur, East Caucasian Tur
Taxonomic Notes: It is still unclear whether or not Capra caucasica and Capra cylindricornis are two separate species (as followed here), or are a single species with geographically dependent variability (P. Weinberg pers. comm.).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Weinberg, P.
Reviewer(s): Festa-Bianchet, M. & Harris, R. (Caprinae Red List Authority)
Listed as Near Threatened because the population size might not be much greater than 10,000 mature individuals (it could be as low as 12,000 mature individuals), and a decline of >10% over the next three generations (estimated at 21 years) is possible. Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion C1.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the eastern part of the Great Caucasus along the borders of Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan between 800 and 4,000 m asl. Its range begins around the headwaters of the Baksan river east of Mount Elbrus (about 43ºN, 43ºE) and stretches for some 600 km eastward along both slopes of the Greater Caucasus to Babadagh mountain (41ºN, 48ºE) (Kuliyev 1981, Tsalkin 1955). The distribution is widest (up to 70 km) in Daghestan (Magomedov et al. 2001), being most narrow in North Ossetia (ca. 12 km) (Weinberg 2002).
Countries occurrence:
Azerbaijan; Georgia; Russian Federation
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):800
Upper elevation limit (metres):4000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Following a period of increase between the 1940s and 1960s numbers have since declined. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the total number was estimated to be between 25,000 to 30,000 animals (Kuliyev 1981, Ravkin 1975), but by the late 1980s had declined by >30% to between 18,000 and 20,000 head, of which ca. 2,000 occurred in Georgia (Weinberg et al. 1997). Magomedov et al. (2001) suggest that there are up to 20,000 Tur in Daghestan alone, but this may be optimistic. The latest data suggest that there are no less than 4,000 animals in three Georgian Nature Reserves alone: Kazbegi, Tusheti and Lagodekhi (NACRES 2006), probably with few Tur remaining outside. An estimate of 3,000 Tur reported in Kazbegi Nature Reserve might be twice too much (P. Weinberg pers. comm.). In Russia, besides Daghestan, there are about 800 Tur in North-Ossetian Nature Reserve (Mallon et al. 2007), and about 7,000 animals in Kabardin-Balkaria (Akkiyev and Pkhitikov 2007) (though the taxonomic status of this latter population remains unclear).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:18000-38000
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Eastern Tur inhabit elevations between 1,000 and 4,000 m asl. Although the mountains in their range can reach 5,000 m asl, Tur seldom rise above 3,500 m asl. They live in forests found up to 2,600 metres, and in subalpine and alpine meadows and rocky talus slopes at higher elevations. Animals avoid thick forests on gentle slopes, but stay readily in open forests growing on steep precipitous slopes. In winters, proportion of animals dwelling below timberline increases (Veinberg 1984). On average, 34% of Eastern Tur lived in the forest throughout the year in Georgia (Ekvtimishvili 1952). Some forest-dwelling populations in Azerbaijan are completely isolated from subalpine and alpine zones (Vereshchagin 1938; P. Weinberg pers. comm.) In summer, adult males typically inhabit higher altitudes than females and young (Veinberg 1984). During the region's harsh winters, tur concentrate on sunny slopes; during the summer, animals expand their distribution to slopes of different exposures (Veinberg 1984, Zalikhanov 1967, Magomedov et al. 2001). Seasonal migrations rarely exceed 5 km (Veinberg 1984, Zalikhanov 1967).

Animals form mixed, adult male-female groups in November, just prior to rut. These disband by mid-January or the beginning of February at the latest, and adult males and females live separately until the next rutting season (Veinberg 1984). Females give birth predominantly to just one kid (Veinberg 1984). Proportion of kids may exceed 20% in Azerbaijan (Kuliev 1981) and Daghestan (Magomedov et al. 2001), but reach only 16,5% in North Ossetia, while yearlings make above 7% there (Veinberg 1984). Sex ratio favours males in protected populations (Weinberg 2002). Yearly changes of overall group size depends on the reproductive cycle. Rugged and precipitous terrain reduces group size (Veinberg 1984, Weinberg 2002). Mean group size also correlates with population density (Magomedov et al. 2001). Overall mean group size is below 10 in North Ossetia (Veinberg 1984), but reached ca. 78 in Azerbaijan (Kuliev 1981). Average population density varies from 0.15 to 17 animals/km² (Weinberg 2002). Eastern Tur consume 256 plant species in Daghestan (Abdurakhamanov 1977). Eastern Tur coexist with Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) on the northern slope in the Central Caucasus and on the southern slope in the Eastern Caucasus (mainly Azerbaijan), but the latter is much less numerous; in Daghestan and Chechnya, it is sympatric with the Wild Goat (Capra aegagrus) which dominates in the forest but seldom rises above timberline (Weinberg 2002).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted heavily for food by local human communities.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Livestock grazing and poaching are the major threats to the Eastern Tur, combined with the impacts of severe winters. Poaching is probably the most significant cause of the recently observed serious declines. Livestock grazing results in competition for resources, especially with domestic sheep and goats. The species is also impacted by habitat loss and degradation (Weinberg et al. 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is included in Category III in the Georgian Red Data Book (1982). Hunting, including hard currency foreign trophy hunting, is forbidden in Georgia, but is permitted under license in Azerbaijan and Russia. This species of Tur is found in several Nature Reserves: 5,200 in Kabardin-Balkarian (Russia), 800 in North-Ossetian (Russia), 700 in Lagodekhi (Georgia), and 2,000 in Zakatala (Azerbaijan). Other protected areas with this species include Tushetian and Kazbegi Nature Reserve (Georgia), and Ilisu Nature Reserve with Kakh sanctuary and Ismailly Nature Reserve together with a sanctuary of the same name, and the newly founded Shakhdagh National Park (Azerbaijan). Of these, Tur receive effective protection in Kabardin-Balkarian, North-Ossetian, Lagodekhi and Zakatala Nature Reserves.

Conservation measures proposed include:
1) create new reserves, particularly in Daghestan on the border with Georgia and Azerbaijan neighboring with Lagodekhi and Zakatala Nature Reserve respectively;
2) strictly enforce protection measures outside the four-month hunting season; if controls are successful and the population responds, then
3) consider the possibility of increasing the annual hunting quota.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: The Justification text mistakenly said that the species was listed as Vulnerable whereas it should have said Near Threatened. The reference for Tsalkin (1955) was missing from the Bibliography and has now been added. The formatting of the text was also corrected to comply with the IUCN Publications Standards.

Citation: Weinberg, P. 2008. Capra cylindricornis (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T3795A91283066. . Downloaded on 16 October 2018.
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