Species / International Ovis

Himalayan/New Zealand Tahr

Hemitragus jemlahicus


The South Island of New Zealand.


This goat’s shoulder height is 36-40 inches and weighs about 180-200 pounds, sometimes more. A medium-sized, powerfully built animal with a full coat of hair and a shaggy mane around the neck and shoulders and extending to the knees. The overall color varies, but in most cases is a dark reddish-brown with a yellowish mane and a dark, sometimes indistinct, dorsal stripe. The face is always dark brown. The horns (both sexes) are short, stout, laterally compressed, keeled in front and curved backward to a tapered point.


Cliffs, steep mountain slopes and high pastures, at altitudes up to about 8,500 feet.


Outside Asia, has been introduced in the wild on the South Island of New Zealand and in parts of South Africa, and on private properties in the United States, Argentina and Austria. Other introductions in Scotland and Canada have failed. The first Himalayan tahrs were imported to New Zealand in 1904 when three pairs, originally from India, were shipped from Woburn Abbey in England to the New Zealand Tourist Board and released near Mt. Cook. Eight more were imported and released on Mt. Wakefield in 1909. In 1931 and 1937, progeny of these animals were set free near Mt. Cook and in the Sealey Range. The introductions were highly successful, as is evinced by records showing that more than 30,000 tahrs were killed by government cullers between 1937-1984.

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