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Chinese Goral

Scientific Name: Naemorhedus goral arnouxianus

Conservation Status:

Near Threatened IUCN Red List


Chinese gorals are goat-antelopes. They are stockier than antelopes, with broader, heavier hooves that they use to climb up steep slopes and wooded mountains in Asia. Gorals are world-class rock climbers built for jumping and climbing. They are usually found at elevations of 3,000 to 8,000 feet, though they have been seen as high as 13,500 feet in the Himalayas. Their wooly undercoat with long, coarse guard hairs is well suited for life in a cold climate. Because they live in the mountains and on cliffs, they have only a few natural enemies. Most common predators are snow leopards, tigers, and lynx that routinely brave rock-climbing to feast on goral. Gorals do not flee until predators are almost upon them. When fleeing, they bound uphill and away in irregular patterns consisting of long leaps, movements that confuse predators. If cornered, their sharp horns can inflict great damage to an adversary.

Gorals are shy creatures and live in groups of up to 12 individuals. They spend most of the year grazing in a small home range but move a short distance to more favorable areas for the winter. They are territorial and will defend their food patches from other gorals. Gorals are vulnerable, with populations declining as a result of habitat destruction and poaching by humans for their meat and for use in traditional medicine. While protected in some areas, their remote habitat makes enforcement difficult, and local people are largely unaware of legislation.


The Chinese goral lives in the steep slopes of wooded mountains in east-central China. Most commonly, they live at 3,000 to 8,000 feet but they have been seen at much higher altitudes. The Manchurian goral lives in northern China and Korea, and other subspecies live in northern India and southern China to Nepal.


They browse on leaves, twigs, shrubs, and nuts in the winter; during the summer, they may graze on grasses. As a ruminant with a four-chambered stomach, they chew their cud to obtain maximum nutrition from their diet.

Physical Characteristics

Chinese gorals are built for climbing and jumping. Body length is three to four feet long, and they are two feet tall at the shoulder. They weigh between 50 and 70 pounds. Males have larger horns than females at seven to nine inches in length. Their woolly undercoats along with with long, coarse guard hairs make them well suited for life in a cold climate. Their summer coats are shorter and thinner. Males have a short, semi-erect mane and longer conical horns that those seen in the females (9 inches in the males and 7.5 inches in the females). The piercing horns are capable of inflicting great damage to their opponents. Lifespan is about 15 years.

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