(J. E. Gray, 1862)
|Distribution of Formosan serow|
The Taiwan serow (Capricornis swinhoei) also known as the Formosan serow, is a small bovid that is endemic to the island of Taiwan.
Its torso length is 80–114 cm (31–45 in) and weight 25–35 kg (55–77 lb). Its tail is short, which measures about 6.5 cm. Its color is dark tan with yellow spots on the jaw, throat and nape.
Both sexes bear horns that curve slightly backward and measure 10–20 centimeters in length. The horns are conical in shape and are never shed. The Formosan serow is the only native bovid of Taiwan.
They are highly vigilant and not easy to observe. However, their feces are commonly found in Yushan National Park. At dawn and dusk, they graze and browse in the woods alone or in small numbers. They generally eat the leaves below the shoulder height, or vines, ferns, shrubs, or herbs on the ground. In addition, they need to absorb salt and they can be observed licking minerals deposited on cliffs or rocks.
Taiwan serows can jump as high as 2 m and run as fast as 55 km per hour and large males can weigh up to 100 kg. Among all mammals in Taiwan, they are the best high jumpers. They can be found at an elevation as low as 50 meters, but are mostly seen around 1000 meters, and as high as 3500 meters. Their habitats include the conifer forest, mixed broad-leaved forests, and the steep slopes of bare rocks and gravel cliffs. They are sometimes spotted on top of Nanhu Mountain, Hsuehshan, Yushan, and Siouguluan Mountain. They also live in the Taroko National Park. Their hoofs separate to two sides and can easily hold on to rocks on steep slopes. They are also good tree climbers. They are solitary and territorial. They use tears to smear branches or stones as markers.
September to November is the Taiwan serow's mating season. Their gestation period lasts about seven months. Calves are delivered between next year's March and June. Usually it gives birth to one calf, but can sometimes deliver twins. Newborn calves can stand on their own in just a few hours. Three-month-old calves can feed by themselves, but can still be nursed by mothers. Males do not take care of calves. From six-months to one-year old, calves gradually separate from mothers and live independently. They grow to sexual maturity in two to three years and can live up to approximately 15 years.
Since 1989, Taiwan serows have been listed as a rare and valuable species (珍貴稀有保育類) and are protected by Taiwan's Cultural Heritage Preservation Act. The main threats to the Taiwan serow are habitat destruction and harvesting.
Predator density on Taiwan is low; the principal predator is the Formosan black bear, while a previous predator was the Formosan clouded leopard before it went extinct.
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