New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1988) 11: 51- 59

Daily Movement and Activity of Female and Juvenile Himalayan Thar (Hemitragus jemlahicus) in the Eastern Southern Alps, New- Zealand

Research Article
K. G. Tustin 1
J. P. Parkes 2
  1. P.O. Box 134, Wanaka, New Zealand
  2. Forest Research Institute, P.O. Box 31-011, Christchurch, New Zealand

About 30 female and juvenile Himalayan thar (Hemitragus jemlahicus) were observed over 2 years on a 200 ha study area. At dawn, thar were at low altitudes and most were feeding. They ascended during the morning to spend the middle of the day resting at high altitudes. In the afternoon they descended again, with increasing feeding activity, to reach low altitudes at dusk. The vertical movement was 450 m in summer and 150 m in winter. The proportion of the day spent feeding was highest in November-February and lowest in August— September. Resting behaviour was more frequent in March-May and August-October than at other times. The proportion of the day spent standing increased threefold during June-July. The feeding pressure during daylight on four vegetation associations showed that tall snow tussock grasslands at high altitudes were likely to be the most susceptible to modification. Lower altitude associations, such as short tussock grasslands and matagouri scrub, received more intense feeding pressure during spring, but were rarely used in winter.