Our Neighborhood's Biodiversity Map

* Please click the continent to see the endangered species of our neighborhood.
Middle East
ARKive species - Arabian tahr (Arabitragus jayakari) * To See the original image, please click the image
Shared by : Arushi Madan and Aishwarya GaneshRam (UAE)
Region : Arabian Peninsula
Status : Endangered
Introduction
Although the Arabian tahr is relatively small, its strength and agility should not be underestimated The species has a stocky build and solid, compact horns in both sexes, although males are generally larger in size and possess longer, more robust horns The Arabian tahr is primarily a browser that feeds on leaves, fruit and seeds of a range of trees, shrubs and grasses. These tahr are also highly dependent upon a regular supply of water, having to drink every two to three days during hot summers, and will travel to new areas outside their normal ranges when water sources dry up Endemic to the south eastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, the Arabian tahr once spread throughout the Musandam Peninsula of northern Oman, south along the Hajar mountain range through the United Arab Emirates as far as Sur and Jebel Aswad in eastern Oman.

According to the IUCN Red List, the entire world population of the Arabian tahr spread in the mountains of northern Oman and the UAE, where it prefers north facing slopes between 1,000 and 1,800 metres high. The IUCN estimates that there are probably fewer than 5,000 Arabian tahrs left in the world.
Threats
The Arabian tahr is endangered due to intense overgrazing, poaching, and habitat destruction. In Oman, a recent increase of human migration to urban areas has resulted in domestic goats becoming feral and foraging in places which were once strictly the tahr's home. Habitat degradation is also another major threat, due to construction of roads, buildings, and mineral extraction. Also, poaching often occurs when the animals descend down from the mountains for a fresh drink. Because tahr meat is considered a delicacy in some areas, hunting still does take places.
According to a BCEAW report in 2006, Arabian tahr populations in the UAE appear to be localised and possibly isolated. The concern is that isolation would lead to diminished genetic variation due to inbreeding, which in turn would result in increased susceptibility to disease and decreased fertility, spelling disaster for the Arabian tahr in the UAE.
Efforts
The Arabian tahr is the region’s only large, endemic mammal. Conservation initiatives have helped slowly combat the declining numbers of the Arabian tahr, but researchers say it will take efforts on a much larger scale to stabilise its waning population.
In 1973, efforts were planned to protect the Arabian tahr. And in 1975, it was granted in the Hajar Mountains. In 1980, a captive breeding program was set up at the Omani Mammal Breeding Center in order to reintroduce captive-bred individuals back into the wild. There are now three institutions involved, one in Oman and two in UAE; Wadi Sareen Reserve in eastern Oman, Wadi Wurrayah in Emirate of Fujariah which was officially declared as the UAE’s first protected mountain area in 2009 and Jebel Hafit near Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates. The Management of Nature Conservation (MNC) in Al Ain now houses over 425 Arabian tahrs, believed to be the world’s biggest Arabian tahr population in captivity, up from 10 in 2005.

Reference :
http://gulfnews.com/your-say/your-reports/how-you-can-help-save-the-uae-s-endangered-species-1.1430372
http://www.arkive.org/arabian-tahr/arabitragus-jayakari/

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