West Caucasian turs are native only to the western Caucasus Mountains in Georgia and south-western Russia ("Protected Areas Program" 2001).
West Caucasian turs have one of the smallent habitats of all ungulates. They are native only to about 4,500 square kilometers in the western Caucasus Mountains. They live in elevations ranging from 800 to 4,200 meters. Forests are found leading up to 2,000 meters. Above this, there are alpine meadows and rocky talus slopes. Elevations above 2,900 meters are permanantly snow-covered (Huffman 2000; "Protected Areas Program" 2001).
Body length for adult males is between 120 and 165 cm, with shoulder height between 78 and 109 cm. Horns of West Caucasian tur average 75 cm and occur in both males and females. They are scimitar-shaped, ridged, and appear as rounded triangles in cross-sections. Their pelage is "rusty gray to rusty chestnut, becoming lighter in the flanks" (Nowak 1991). The legs are dark brown. Males have a small beard under the chin. Tail length ranges from 10 to 14 cm (Nowak 1991). (Nowak, 1991)
- Sexual Dimorphism
- Range mass
- 65 to 100 kg
- 143.17 to 220.26 lb
The mating season for West Caucasian turs lasts from late November to early January. Males fight aggressively during this season over females. Gestation lasts for 150 to 160 days. There is usually only one young born, rarely two, which average 3.5 to 4.2 kg at birth. Although young kids starts eating grass at about one month old, they are not weaned until three months old. Sexual maturity is reached at about two years old in females and five years old for males. Life expectancy is 12 to 13 years (Grzimek 1990; Nowak 1991).
- Key Reproductive Features
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Range number of offspring
- 1 to 2
- Average number of offspring
- Average number of offspring
- Range gestation period
- 5 to 5.33 months
- Parental Investment
- Average lifespan
- 19.3 years
- Average lifespan
Herd composition changes a great deal throughout the year. From May to November, males separate themselves from females and young by living at higher elevations. Females form maternal groups of about 12 for the summer months. In November, West Caucasian turs migrate downward 1500-2000 meters for the mating season. During this time herds mix and can reach numbers in excess of 500 animals. They then ascend to higher elevations in May and separate into the smaller groups. During the summer, the turs takes shelter and rest through the hottest hours of the day. Females provide all parental care for their young (Grzimek 1990; Nowak 1991).
Communication and Perception
West Caucasian turs are herbivorous. In summer their diet consists of a wide variety of plants and grasses. They tend to feed in the morning, rest in the heat of early afternoon, then feed again in late afternoon and evening. In winter their diet contains the leaves of trees and shrubs and they graze in open pastures throughout the day. Turs have been known to travel as much as 20 km a day if their resting and feeding sites are separated (Nowak 1991).
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
West Caucasian turs are popular trophies for hunters. Safaris make large amounts of money allowing hunters to kill these animals ("Safari and Expeditions" 2001).
- Positive Impacts
- body parts are source of valuable material
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Unregulated hunting in the early 1900's seriously threatened populations of West Caucasian turs. The creation of a nature preserve where they occur has enabled their numbers to increase slightly in recent years. The current population is estimated at under 10,000 (Nowak 1991).
Wolves and lynx are the main predators of(Grzimek 1990).
David Eule (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
- dominance hierarchies
ranking system or pecking order among members of a long-term social group, where dominance status affects access to resources or mates
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
- sexual ornamentation
one of the sexes (usually males) has special physical structures used in courting the other sex or fighting the same sex. For example: antlers, elongated tails, special spurs.
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
Coniferous or boreal forest, located in a band across northern North America, Europe, and Asia. This terrestrial biome also occurs at high elevations. Long, cold winters and short, wet summers. Few species of trees are present; these are primarily conifers that grow in dense stands with little undergrowth. Some deciduous trees also may be present.
Grzimek, B. 1990. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Huffman, B. September 24, 2000. "West Caucasian Tur, Kuban Tur" (On-line). Accessed March 20, 2001 at http://www.ultimateungulate.com/westtur.html.
Nowak, R. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Unknown, January 5, 2001. "Protected Areas Program" (On-line). Accessed March 19, 2001 at http://www.wcmc.org.uk/protected_areas/data/wh/w_caucas.html.
Unknown, Date Unknown. "Safari and Expeditions" (On-line). Accessed March 21, 2001 at http://www.safari.ru/Engl/home_e.htm.