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Sure-Footed Gorals At Home in Scottish Highlands

chinese gorals, conservation, endangered species
Mom Beijing is standing in the foreground, while little Danling munches on grass. Daugther Ya-ann is in the back. (Image credit: Highland Wildlife Park)

These funny-looking creatures look a lot like antelopes or goats, but they’re actually Chinese Gorals. The group recently moved from Edinburgh Zoo to its sister institution, the Highland Wildlife Park, where the terrain suits the new arrivals.

The perfect new habitat for these hooved animals that most closely resemble antelopes or goats, Gorals are sure footed climbers that tend to be found in cold mountainous regions.

Gorals naturally live in small groups in the high mountainous regions of Eastern Russia, Western China and Thailand.  Known for inhabiting steep, rocky areas of terrain, they also have brownish-grey coats that grow thick and woolly in the winter months to help protect them from the cold.

This Chinese Goral group is made up of dad and mom, Bobby and Beijing both aged three, daughter Ya-ann aged one and a half, and their 8 month old son, Danling.

Douglas Richardson, Animal Collection Manager at the Highland Wildlife Park, said:

“Our Chinese Gorals are settling in well to their new home and are on display to the public.  Perfectly engineered by nature to thrive in cold high altitude environments, the gorals are perfectly suited to life in the Highlands! 

“Truly interesting animals, Gorals are the most primitive of the sheep and goat family and they can be seen in no other zoo in the UK.  The Highland Wildlife Park is responsible for the management of the small European Zoo population, and as very little is known of their wild social structure and behavior, we hope that what we learn about them here can help answer some key questions that would improve their protection in the wild.  We are confident that they will continue to breed at the Park. Beijing herself was hand reared and as a result she tends to be more curious and interactive with our visitors, she is definitely full of character.”

Goral Fast Facts:

  • There are currently thought to be less than 2,000 Chinese Gorals in the wild.
  • Older male gorals are solitary for most of the year apart from the mating season in September and October. After six months, the female will give birth to one young.
  • They graze on plants, grass, leaves and branches in the morning and evening and will spend the remainder of the day, resting among rocks.
  • Gorals will freeze instantly at any sign of danger, ready to run at speed if they need to.

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