Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Naemorhedus goral
Species Authority: (Hardwicke, 1825)
Common Name(s):
English Himalayan Goral, Goral
French Bouquetin Du Népal
Taxonomic Notes: Two subspecies are recognized by Wilson and Reeder (2005): N. g. goral, and N. g. bedfordi.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Duckworth, J.W. & MacKinnon, J.
Reviewer(s): Harris, R. & Festa-Bianchet, M. (Caprinae Red List Authority)
Listed as Near Threatened because this species is believed to be in significant decline (but probably at a rate of less than 30% over three generations, taken at 21 years) due to hunting for food and habitat loss, making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable under criterion A2cd.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Himalayan goral is found across the Himalayas including Bhutan, China (southern Tibet), northern India (including Sikkim), Nepal, and northern Pakistan (Grubb 2005) and possibly western Myanmar (though in this assessment we treat gorals in Myanmar, and in northeast India east and south of the Brahmaputra, as Naemorhedus griseus, pending further resolution of their taxonomy).

Naemorhedus goral goral
This subspecies, also referred to N. goral hodgsoni in China (Smith and Xie 2008), has a narrow distribution zone in China that is located in the border area of Tibet. Specimens have been collected from Cuona, Gyirong (Zongga) and Zhangmo. In Bhutan, goral occurs throughout the northern third of the country. Goral are also found across most of the southern slopes of the Himalayas of northern India from Jammu and Kashmir to eastern Arunachal Pradesh, as far as the Brahmaputra.

The subspecies N. goral bedfordi and N. g. goral are apparently separated by Nepal, with the former occurring in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal, and the latter in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh (Sathyakumar 2002). In India, the Himalayan goral is apparently patchily distributed along the Himalayan mountain ranges in Jammu and Kashmir, with reports of its presence in Dachigam National Park (Johnsingh et al., unpublished data), Kisthwar National Park and possibly in the Limber Wildlife Sanctuary. It is still widely distributed and locally common in the Sutlej and Beas River catchments of Himachal Pradesh (Cavallini 1992; Fox et al. 1986; Gaston 1986; Gaston et al. 1981, 1983). Reports also confirm its continued presence between 1,600 and 2,100 m in the Simla Water Catchment Reserve and the Chail and Majathal Harsang Wildlife Sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh (Gaston et al. 1981; Lovari and Apollonio 1993). Goral is also widespread in Uttaranchal Pradesh (Singh 1985; Negi 2002). Goral are present at elevations of 1,800 to 2,000 m in much of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (Green 1985), 1,680 to 3,600 m in Govind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary (Fox et al. 1986), and 1,900 to 2,500 m at Kunj Kharak (northeast of Corbett National Park), Uttaranchal. It is found between 900 and 2,750 m in the eastern Himalayan states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

In Nepal, Himalayan goral are widely distributed on the forested slopes up to the timberline (Wegge and Oli 1997). Goral are found in northern Myanmar, although their species status remains uncertain, and no recent distribution data are available.

Naemorhedus goral bedfordi
In Pakistan, this goral occurs in the outer Himalayan foothills that form the western extremity of the species’ range. Roberts (1977) stated that within the Federal Capital Territory and the Rawalpindi District of the Punjab Province, it inhabited the Murree foothills and the Margalla range. However, its present occurrence in Punjab is doubtful (Chaudhry, unpublished data). Roberts (1977) also mentioned the occurrence of the species in Azad Jammu and Kashmir in parts of the Neelum Valley beyond Ath Muqam (District Muzaffarabad), while Qayyum (1985) and the Zoological Survey Department (1986) describe it in the District of Kotli, at three places in the District of Muzaffarabad, and in the region of Poonch. In the NWFP, its range extends from the Districts of Abbottabad, Mansehra, Mardan, Kohistan and Swat, to the areas of Dir, Malakand and Nowshera which possibly still form the western limit of its range. The main surviving population in Pakistan is probably in the Indus Kohistan region between Swat and the Kunhar Valley catchment (Roberts 1977). The gray goral has been recorded from 1,000 up to 4,000 meters.
Countries occurrence:
Bhutan; China; India; Nepal; Pakistan
Lower elevation limit (metres):900
Upper elevation limit (metres):4000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Naemorhedus goral goral
No estimate of population size is available in China, but numbers are thought to be small (Feng et al., 1986). In India, densities have been variously estimated: 2.6/km² in Kedarnath Sanctuary in Uttaranchal (Green 1987a), 1.2/km² in Daranghati Sanctuary, 1.5/km² in Rupi Bhaba Sanctuary, and 4.6 to 10.5/km² in Majathal Harsang Wildlife Sanctuary (Lovari and Apollonio, 1993), all in Himachal Pradesh (Pandey 2002). If suitable habitats are available in the absence of excessive hunting - even with moderate human disturbance (e.g. grass and fodder cutting) - goral can occur in good numbers. Its forested habitat makes censusing populations difficult in Nepal.

Naemorhedus goral bedfordi
There is no total estimate of population size for N. g. bedfordi. Two hundred animals were counted during a wildlife census by the NWFP Forest Department (NWFP, 1987). A total of 233 were estimated in the NWF in 1992 (NWFP, 1992). During this census, no goral were recorded in Abbottabad or Swat Districts. Eight-hundred ninety-three were estimated in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Qayyum, 1986-87). Margalla Hills National Park contains an estimated 40 to 60 goral, and the population was believed to be slowly increasing (Maqsood, 1989).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species inhabits steep mountainous areas and will sometimes use evergreen forests near cliffs, but primarily stays within rugged rocky terrain. Himalayan gorals feed on grassy ridges and steep rocky slopes, but hide in forest or rock crevices; it seeks shelter under rock overhangs. Gorals are diurnal, and are most active in the early morning and late evening, but can be active throughout on overcast days. Group home range size is typically around 40 hectares, with males occupying marked territories of 22-25 hectares durring the mating season. Males usually single; otherwise found in pairs or small parties. They typically live in small groups of 4-12 individuals; older males are usually solitary. The diet consists of grasses, leaves, twigs, fruits, and nuts. The gestation length is 170-218 days, with single births. Males and females reach sexual maturity at three, sometimes two years (Hayseen et al 1993), with a lifespan of up to 15 years.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats come from habitat destruction, hunting, and possibly from competition with livestock (Maqsood, 1989).

In China, hunting is probably the main threat to its survival; however, the extent is unknown. It may be limited due to the predominant religious beliefs of Tibetan people, which reduces hunting. In Bhutan, although some parts of the range are in reasonable condition, in other areas, its habitat is being destroyed by overgrazing by livestock, and in the area previously in Doga National Park, by grass burning during the dry season (Blower, 1985a).

In India, within protected areas, the status of goral populations is probably satisfactory. Nevertheless, they are often hunted for meat even within many of the protected areas. The most significant threat to them is severe habitat disturbance and alteration, particularly in the lower portions of the Himalayas and in northeastern India. However, limited disturbance and habitat alteration that creates or maintains some shrub and forest cover, may not be greatly detrimental to the survival of goral populations. In Nepal, the threats are poaching, and habitat destruction resulting from logging, agriculture and livestock grazing.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Naemorhedus goral is listed in Appendix I of CITES.

Naemorhedus goral goral
N. g. goral is listed as a Class II protected species and receives some protection in the Qomolangma Nature Reserve on the border with Nepal. Conservation measures proposed for China: 1) Determine status and distribution before 2) developing a detailed conservation strategy.

Goral in Bhutan are known to occur in Doga, and Royal Manas National Parks (Green, 1987b), and appear to be well protected in Jigme Dorji National Park (Wollenhaupt, 1989d, Johnsingh 2005), and Black Mountains and Thrumsingla National Parks. Although Doga National Park was established mainly to protect this goral, the habitat is so degraded by exploitation that the Park is of almost no conservation value for the species (Blower, 1986; Wollenhaupt, 1989a) and has since been removed from the country’s protected areas system. Conservation measures proposed for Bhutan: Surveys to determine numbers and distribution.

In India, both the Western Himalayan goral (N. goral bedfordi) and the Eastern Himalayan goral (N. g. gopal) are listed as Lower Risk/near threatened, which allows adult male goral to be hunted under special license. This status has essentially been applied to all forms of goral and accepted by all states except Nagaland and in Himachal Pradesh where goral are legally and completely protected. Some 50 protected areas in India are reported to include some goral (Singh, 1985; Rodgers and Panwar, 1988; Pandey 2002), including Jammu and Kashmir - Kishtwar National Park, Nandni and Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuaries, and possibly in Limber Game Reserve and Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary (latest surveys fail to document species’ presence); Himachal Pradesh- Great Himalayan National Park, Bandi Churdar, Chail, Daranghati, Darlaghat, Gamgul Siahbehi, Kalatop-Khajjiar, Kanawar, Khokhan, Kugti, Lippa Asrang, Majathal, Manali, Naina Devi, Nargu, Raksham Chitkul, Renuka, Rupi Bhaba, Sangla valley, Sechu Tuan Nala, Shikari Devi, Shilli (locally threatened), Simbalbara, Simla Water Catchment, Talra, Tirthan and Tundah (locally threatened) Wildlife Sanctuaries; Uttaranchal (Negi 2002) - Corbett, Nanda Devi, Rajaji and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Askot, Sonanadi, Binsar, Musorriie, Govind Pashu Vihar and Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuaries; Sikkim - Khangchendzonga National Park; Megahalaya - Balphakram National Park; and Assam - possibly in Buxa Tiger Reserve. Conservation measures proposed for India: 1) Establish the proposed Srikhand National Park (Himachal Pradesh) which includes the range of N. g. bedjordi. 2) Develop a management program for goral living outside protected areas. Habitat alteration and disturbance by heavy grazing and hunting will continue to negatively affect goral populations throughout northern India. However, it is apparently able to survive in areas of substantial human farming and grazing activity, as long as patches of rugged, brush-covered slopes are maintained. 3) Develop a management plan to prevent overhunting in non-protected areas, and to increase effective protection in parks and sanctuaries, if viable populations are to be maintained.

In Nepal, goral occurs in eight National Parks (Khaptad, Lake Rara, Langtang, Makalu-Barun (and Conservation Area), Royal Bardia, Royal Chitwan, Sagarmatha, and Shey-Phoksundo; Wegge and Oli 1997), as well as within the Annapurna Conservation Area, Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve and Parsa Wildlife Reserve. Conservation measures for Nepal include: 1) In some areas, consider a management program for sustainable, low level, subsistence hunting by local villagers and trophy hunting, after goral population censuses and productivity studies have been made. Basic research on the relationship between habitat type and goral abundance is vital if subsistence cropping is to be promoted. 2) DNPWC could perhaps conduct a case study of this relationship within one of the park buffer zones. This would not only provide the much needed data, but also might deflect some of the local concern about crop damage caused by this species).

Naemorhedus goral bedfordi
The subspecies in Pakistan is legally protected, as are all wild mammals in the country, but enforcement of the laws is not satisfactory. A proposal has been made (Green 1993) that Margalla Hills NP should include a 3,100 ha enclosure for captive breeding and reintroductions. In 1988, between 40 and 60 goral were reported in this National Park (Maqsood, 1989). Known protected areas with goral include: NWFP – Haripur (previously Abbottabad) District: Makhunal GR, Surrana GR (Zool. Survey Dept., 1987); Mansehra District: Manshi WS (Zool. Survey Dept., 1987); Mardan District: Sudham GR; Swat District: Giddar Baik WS, Daggar GR (Zool. Survey Dept., 1987); Boner District: Totalai GR (Zool. Survey Dept., 1987); Nowshera District: Manglot WS or Nizampur GR (Zool. Survey Dept., 1987); ad Jammu and Kashmir - Muzaffarabad District: Salkhala WS, Ghamot GR, Machiara GR, Qazi Nag GR (Zool. Survey Dept., 1986); and Federal Capital Territory - Margalla Hills NP (Maqsood, 1989). Conservation measures proposed for Pakistan: 1) Secure the protection of the population in the Margalla Hills NP. 2) Establish several other focal areas (see General conservation measures proposed above). 3) To this end, there is an urgent need to obtain more information about the actual distribution and status of the species. 4) Identify areas suitable for protection at the same time that censuses are made. 5) Develop and implement conservation management strategies, including populations on private lands.

The taxonomic validity of this species, and its relationship to other species in the genus Naemorhedus needs to be assessed.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Marginal  
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.7. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.7. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.3. Sub-national level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.1. Shifting agriculture
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.3. Trend Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

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Citation: Duckworth, J.W. & MacKinnon, J. 2008. Naemorhedus goral. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T14296A4430073. . Downloaded on 04 October 2015.
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