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Tahrs are three species of large Asian ungulates related to the wild goat. Until recently the three species were believed to be closely related and were placed in a single genus, Hemitragus. Genetic studies have proven that the three tahrs are not as closely related as previously thought. Now they are considered as members of three separate monotypic genera; Hemitragus is now reserved for the Himalayan Tahr; Nilgiritragus for the Nilgiri Tahr; and Arabitragus for the Arabian Tahr.
While the Arabian Tahr of Oman and the Nilgiri Tahr of South India both have small ranges and are considered endangered, the Himalayan Tahr remains relatively widespread in the Himalayas, and has been introduced to the Southern Alps of New Zealand. It is hunted recreationally. There is also a population on Table Mountain in South Africa, descended from a pair of tahrs which escaped from a zoo in the 1930s, but most of these have been culled.
A daily routine of feeding up during the morning followed by a long rest period then feed down again at evening constitutes the tahr's daily routine. Tahr are not generally active or feeding at night and can be found at the same location morning and evening. In the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the tahr prefer higher altitudes through winter, high upon the frozen mountains. During the summer months they may be found both above and below snowline.
- Ropiquet, A. & Hassanin, A. 2005. Molecular evidence for the polyphyly of the genus Hemitragus (Mammalia, Bovidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36(1):154-168
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