From the photos of the West Caucasian Turs (Capra caucasica) above, you’d think that these beautiful undulates lead a pretty easy life. In all actuality, their life is not exactly a walk in the park – it’s more of a rugged trek through rocky, mountainous terrain. Found only in the western half of the Caucasus mountain range (which is located within Russia and Georgia), these beasts roam at elevations of 2,600 and 13,000 ft above sea level.
They stand up to a meter tall and reach 140 lbs and have large bodies with narrow legs. Those narrow legs sport narrow hooves which allow these guys to easily move about their jagged and normally treacherous habitat. West Caucasian Turs are nocturnal, eating in the open at night and sheltering during the day. Females live in herds of around ten individuals, while males are solitary.
Unfortunately, these magnificent beasties are highly endangered with only 5,000 to 6,000 individuals remaining in the wild. Livestock grazing and poaching are the major threats to the West Caucasian Tur, combined with the impacts of severe winters. Poaching is probably the most significant cause of the recently observed serious declines.
West Caucasian Turs really need to stand up for themselves and teach those poachers a lesson. There’s strength in numbers, remember?! But while they get their courage up, us humans should really help them out. Check out what the World Wildlife Fund is doing about it here.