Capra cylindricornis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Capra cylindricornis
Species Authority: (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 Vulnerable because the population size might not be much great 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.
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Rare (Groombridge 1994)

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, Akhmedov and Yarovenko, 2001), being most narrow in North Ossetia (ca. 12 km) (Weinberg, 2002).
Azerbaijan; Georgia; Russian Federation
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, Akhmedov and Yarovenko (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, Weinberg and Kopaliani, 2007), and about 7,000 animals in Kabardin-Balkaria (Akkiyev and Pkhitikov, 2007) (though the taxonomic status of this latter population remains unclear).
Population Trend: Decreasing

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 meters, 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, Akhmedov, Yarovenko, 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, Akhmedov, Yarovenko, 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, Akhmedov, Yarovenko, 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).
Systems: Terrestrial

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.

Bibliography [top]

Abdurakhmanov, M. G. 1977. Caucasian tur. Rare Mammals of the USSR: Ungulates, pp. 186-200. Lesnaya Promyshlennost, Moscow, Russia.

Akkiyev, A. M. and Pkhitikov, A. B. 2007. Ungulates as hunting objects: contemporary status, problems of conservation and use (Central Caucasus, Kabardin-Balkarian Republic). Mammals of Mountain Territories: 11-17. Moscow, Russia.

Ekvtimishvili, Z. S. 1952. Vertical distribution of some ungulate species at the southern slope of the Caucasus. Proceedings of Georgian Academy Sciences 13(6): 476-484.

Kuliyev, S. M. 1981. The wild goat and the Daghestan rut in Azerbaijan [in Russian]. Candidate Thesis, University of Moscow.

Magomedov, M. R. D., Akhmedov, E. G. and Yarovenko, Yu. A. 2001. Daghestan Tur: Populyatsionnyye i ekologicheskiye aspekty ekologii. Nauka Publishers, Moscow, Russia.

Mallon, D., Weinberg, P. and Kopaliani, N. 2007. Status of the prey species of the leopard in the Caucasus. Cat News, Special issue 2: 22-27.

NACRES. 2006. Tur in Georgia: Status Report and Conservation Action Plan. NACRES, Tbilisi.

Ravkin, Ye. S. 1975. Wild ungulate resources in the North Caucasus and anthropogenous influence upon them. Nauka, Moscow, Russia.

Veinberg, P. I. 1984. Daghestan Tur. Nauka, Moscow, Russia.

Veinberg, P. J. 2004. Analysis of factors influencing the size and composition of groups in Daghestan tur (Capra cylindricornis Blyth) in North Ossetian Nature Reserve. Bulletin of the Moscow Society for Nature, Biological Series 109(4): 60-63.

Vereshchagin, N. K. 1938. Daghestan tur in Azerbaijan. Proceedings Of the Zoological Institute of the Azerbaijan Academy of Science 9(45): 1-90.

Weinberg, P. I. 2002. Capra cylindricornis. Mammalian Species 625: 1-9.

Weinberg, P. I., Fedosenko, A. K., Arabuli, A. B., Myslenkov, A., Romashin, A. V., Voloshina, I. and Zheleznov, N. 1997. The Commonwealth of Independent States (former USSR). In: D. M. Shackleton (ed.), Wild Sheep and Goats and their Relatives. Status Survey and Action Plan for Caprinae, pp. 172-193. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Zalikhanov, M. Ch. 1967. Tur in Kabardin-Balkaria. Kabardin-Balkarian Publs, Nal’chik.

Zalkin, V. I. 1955. Variability and systematics of tur of the west Caucasus. Bulletin of the Moscow Society for Nature, Biological Series 60(4): 17-33.

Citation: Weinberg, P. 2008. Capra cylindricornis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 April 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided