Capricornis rubidus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Capricornis rubidus
Species Authority: Blyth, 1863
Common Name(s):
English Red Serow
Capricornis sumatraensis Blyth, 1863 subspecies rubidus
Taxonomic Notes: Taxonomy of serows is not completely resolved; descriptions, range maps, and assessments of conservation status in the literature vary because sources differ on nomenclature and specific/subspecific status of the various taxa. Here, we follow the taxonomy of Wilson and Reeder, 3rd edition (2005). Thus, we recognize six species of Capricornis:

C. crispus (Japanese Serow, restricted to Japan)
C. milneedwardsii (Chinese Serow, but also occurring in southeast Asian countries)
C. rubidus (Red Serow, restricted to Myanmar)
C. sumatraensis (Sumatran Serow, in Indonesia, Malaysia and southern Thailand)
C. swinhoei (Formosan Serow, restricted to Taiwan, Province of China)
C. thar (Himalayan Serow, along the Himalayan range)

The genus Naemorhedus is recognized as referring to gorals. Note that this taxonomy differs from that of Wilson and Reeder, 2nd edition (1993), that of the 2007 IUCN Red List (IUCN 2007), as well as that adopted by the IUCN Caprinae Specialist Group (Shackleton 1997). Additionally, most Chinese sources consider serows in China as being N. sumatraensis (e.g., Wang 1998, Wang 2002).

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. & Than Zaw
Reviewer(s): Harris, R. & Festa-Bianchet, M. (Caprinae Red List Authority)
Contributor(s): Sheppard, C. & MacKinnon, J.
There is little direct information on the status of this species. However, it is probably declining due to over-hunting, like Capricornis milneedwardsi, and so it is 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, making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable under criterion A). This Red List assessment is based on the best available information, but contains considerable uncertainty. The true status of the species may be better or worse than this. Future revisions of this classification may reflect true changes in status, or may simply reflect better information.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Endangered (EN)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known from northern, and perhaps western, Myanmar (Grubb, 2005). The range of C. rubidus is not well known, partly because of confusion with another red serow form in adjacent territories to the west in Assam and Bangladesh, and the fact that all serows can show varying amounts of red and black colouration. True rubidus specimens have black hair base rather than white. Records and specimens from Kachin state in the north of Myanmar are clearly this species. Other localities reported include the Upper Chindwin, Ararakan Hill Tracts and limestone hills in the upper Salween. Without accompanying specimens these records are less certain. The species may overlap in some locations with C. milneedwardsii which extends through most of the Shan States and Pegu (Bago) Yoma at least as far west as the Ayeyarwady river. The type locality is from the "Arakan Hills", however, many of the type localities from that time period are wrong and this may be one of them. Little survey work has been in the region of the type locality.

In northeastern India, serows attributed to Capricornis sumatraensis rubidus apparently occur south of the Brahmaputra River in hilly tracts in Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura (Green, 1987). However, in this assessment, these animals are considered to be Capricornis thar, pending further information.
Countries occurrence:
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no current information on the population of this species.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: There is nothing known about the natural history of this species. It is assumed to be similar in ecology to Capricornis milneedwardsii, inhabiting rugged steep hills and rocky places, as well as hill and mountain forest areas with gentler terrain.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Horns are exported to Thailand to be attached to the spurs of fighting cocks (this is believed to give them more power).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The threats to this species are not known, but there is significant hunting of other large mammals in the area. The serow in Myanmar is one of the most heavily traded species in the local trade. Every market surveyed by TRAFFIC in Myanmar in 2006 had Serow, and in most markets, this was the most commonly observed species, with the bulk of the parts observed being horns and heads. Many of these markets are situated on the Myanmar-Thailand border and dealers claim that all buyers in these border markets come from Thailand, indicating a blatant disregard for both national legislation and CITES. Serows are protected throughout Southeast Asia by law, but protecting this species on the ground does not appear to be a priority in many countries.

Serow are very heavily hunted in Myanmar, with meat usually being consumed locally, but parts, including the forelegs, heads, horns and fat from the stomach region being the most sought after for use in traditional medicines. These parts are rendered down and the oil is sold in small bottles. According to dealers, this oil is applied externally to treat skin ailments and joint problems. Horn tips are also exported from Myanmar to Thailand to be attached to the spurs of fighting cocks (this is believed to give them more power).

In 2006, interviews with dealers in border markets and markets in the centre of Myanmar, revealed that in all areas surveyed, Serow are apparently in decline. Hunters stated that they were having to travel further to get serow, and that they were, in many locations, becoming scarce.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The red serow (as C.S. s. rubidus) was listed as Endangered (A2cd) in the 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals (IUCN, 2007). However, this assessment probably included the red form of Himalayan Serow which was often attributed to this species but is currently included in C. thar. It is listed on Appendix I of CITES. There is an urgent need to survey this species' habitat to determine the range limits, population, and threats. Measures also need to be enacted to prevent hunting of the species. It is expected to occur in several protected areas, but this requires confirmation.

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

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.7. Shrubland - 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
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.1. International level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
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

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Medicine - human & veterinary
 Local : ✓   National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Other (free text)
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Green, M. J. B. 1987. The conservation status of the leopard, goral and serow in Bangladesh, Bhutan, northern India and southern Tibet. United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Grubb, P. 2005. Artiodactyla. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed), pp. 637-722. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Shackleton, D.M. 1997. Wild Sheep and Goats and Their Relatives: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan for Caprinae. IUCN/SSC Caprinae Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Wang, S. 1998. China red data book of endangered animals: Mammalia. Science Press, Beijing, China.

Wang, Y.X. 2003. A Complete Checklist of Mammal Species and Subspecies in China (A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference). China Forestry Publishing House, Beijing, China.

Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. 1993. Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. 2005. Mammal Species of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Citation: Duckworth, J.W. & Than Zaw. 2008. Capricornis rubidus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T3815A10102774. . Downloaded on 28 November 2015.
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