Hermitragus jemlahicus

Common Name(s)

Himalayan thar




Himalayan thar prefer subalpine shrubland (in winter shrubland), but also occur on rock bluff systems and their adjacent snow tussock basins. They are usually found between 1400-1700m, but occasionally move up to 2250m and down as far as 750m. They are herbivorous, mainly feeding on snow tussocks, alpine herbs and subalpine shrubland plants. They are excellent climbers.


Himalayan thar are one of three tahr species. The body is similar to goats, but has rather short legs for its size. The head is also proportionally small, with large eyes (excellent eyesight) and small pointed ears. The horns are triangular in shape and curve backwards and then again inwards, while the female horns are much smaller. In the winter tahrs have dense, reddish to dark brown woolly coat with a thick undercoat, which keeps it warm. The males will grow a long, shaggy mane around their neck and shoulders, which grows down to the upper parts of their legs.

Similar Species

In New Zealand Himalayan thar might be confused with Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra (Chamois) or Feral goat (Carpa hircus).

Threat To Plants

Browsing and grazing of palatable species (they are also inclined to bark-chew), which my alter species regeneration and vegetation composition. When occurring in large numbers they will destroy the understorey of native forest by overbrowsing, grazing, bark stripping and trampling, which consecutively will also increases soil erosion and therefore also the fertility of the site.


Most of the central Southern Alps between the Rakaia and Whitcombe Rivers in the north and the Haast and Hunter Rivers in the south. Further south there are scattered populations near Matukituki, Wilkin, Waiatoto Rover and Minaret Station.


Weight: 135-180kg; acromial height: 60-90cm

Year Introduced

1904 (Hermitage at Mount Cook)

Reason For Introduction

Food and game

Colonisation History

First introduced to New Zealand near the Hermitage at Mount Cook by the New Zealand Government in 1904 (5 individuals) and 1909 (8 individuals). Population’s size increased rapidly and by the 1920s increased to more than 100 animals. By the 1970s almost all suitable habitat on the Southern Alps was inhabited. Since then species numbers have declined due to on ground and helicopter hunting.