Himalayan Serow

The Himalayan serow (Binomial name-Capricornis thar) is a subspecies of the ‘Mainland serow’, native to the Himalayas. Several species of serows are found in Asia while the Himalayan serow is restricted to the Himalayan region.

Key Points for UPSC Prelims

  • The animals are herbivores and are known to be found in the western, eastern, and central Himalayas.
  • Serow is a medium-size mammal with a large head, short limbs, thick neck, and dark hair.
  • They have a goat-like appearance and have long donkey-like ears.
  • Because of its unique features, it is seen as a cross between a goat, a pig, a donkey, and a cow.
  • This serow has been listed in the “Near threatened” status by the IUCN and is considered to be a very shy animal. It is also listed in CITES Appendix I.

Himalayan Serow spotted in Himachal Pradesh

Recently, the Himalayan Serow was spotted by locals and wildlife officials at a riverside wall in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh. This is also the first recorded human sighting, especially in the Cold desert, at high altitude.

This spotting of the Himalayan serow is unique as they are usually not found at the altitude where Spiti Valley is located and they have never been spotted in the Himalayan cold desert before this.

CITES Appendix I

CITES i.e. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora is a treaty signed for protecting endangered animals and plants. The convention was signed in the year 1973 and became effective from July 1, 1975. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Appendix I of CITES have listed around 1200 species that are on the verge of extinction and are or may be affected by trade.

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