Long-tailed gorals are small even-toed ungulates of the goat-antelope family. The tips of their horns curve back and have distinct rings. There are openings between their hooves. The face of goral is flat like that of a serow, and the nose and eyes are very close together. These animals have brown fur with shades of gray; the outer fur is long. The bushy tail is usually dark brown or black in color. Females usually are lighter in shade than males and their horns are smaller than males' horns.
Long-tailed gorals are found in the mountains of eastern and northern Asia, including Russia, China, and Korea. They prefer high elevations with rocky, dry, steep, cliff-ridden mountains. Long-tailed gorals live near sparsely vegetated cliffs with small crevices where they can hide from danger. These areas are sometimes covered by evergreen and deciduous forests, and gorals sometimes can feed on exposed grassy ridges.
Long-tailed gorals are social animals and live in herds with 2 to 12 individuals. The groups consist of females, kids, and younger males; older males tend to be solitary. Chinese gorals are diurnal being most active in the early morning and late evening. During the overcast weather, they can be active throughout the entire day. During the winter when not feeding, they hide under rocky overhangs and in caves. Chinese gorals try to avoid walking in deep snow; if the snow is deeper than 35 cm they will leave belly marks in the snow as they go. In order to communicate with each other, these animals use different sounds. When feeling danger they produce wheezing alarm sounds. They will stomp their foot if they want to threaten a predator and warn other gorals in the area. During mating season, males attract females with a “zer… zer” or “ze-ze-ze” call and females will answer with a whistling noise.
Long-tailed gorals are herbivores. They eat a wide variety of grasses, woody material, nuts, and fruits. In the summer months, they tend to feed on different kinds of grass that grow in the mountains. Throughout the winter, they browse on woody twigs and leaves of trees and shrubs; they also like nuts, such as acorns, and a few fruits.
Little information is known about the mating system in Long-tailed gorals. The breeding season takes place in early winter. The gestation period lasts around 250-260 days after which usually one, or rarely two-three, kids are born. The young remain with their mother for about a year and reach reproductive maturity when they are 3 years old.
Main threats to Long-tailed gorals include poaching, habitat loss due to forestry and agriculture, snaring and competition from domestic livestock. These animals are poached for their fur, meat, and horns. They are also poached because some of their parts are used in traditional medicine. Their natural predators are also affecting the population; among those are lynx, snow leopards, tigers, and wolves in some regions.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Long-tailed goral is unknown. However, there are estimated populations of the species in the following areas: Russia - around 600-750 animals; South Korea - less than 50 animals. Currently, Long-tailed gorals are classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.
Due to their grazing and browsing habits, Long-tailed gorals impact vegetation in their native landscapes. They are also important prey for large predators.