The Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus) is a goat-antelope, an even-toed ungulate mammal that lives in dense woodland in Japan. This animal is a national symbol of Japan and is protected in conservation areas. It is labeled a "living national treasure of the forest". In 1955, the Japanese government passed a law designating it a "Special National Monument" to protect it from poachers.
Crepuscular animals are those that are active primarily during twilight (that is, the periods of dawn and dusk). This is distinguished from diurnal...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
In zoology, a folivore is a herbivore that specializes in eating leaves. Mature leaves contain a high proportion of hard-to-digest cellulose, less ...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Browsing is a type of herbivory in which an herbivore (or, more narrowly defined, a folivore) feeds on leaves, soft shoots, or fruits of high-growi...
Island endemic animals are found in a single defined geographic location, such as an island. Animals or organisms that are indigenous to a place ar...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Monogamy is a form of relationship in which both the male and the female has only one partner. This pair may cohabitate in an area or territory for...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The Japanese serow is a small bovid. It has a stocky body whose size varies little between sexes or geographic location. Its fur is whitish around the neck, and fur on the body may be black, black with a dorsal white spot, dark brown, or whitish. The coat lightens in summer. There are three well-developed skin glands: large preorbital glands in both sexes, which increase in size as the animal ages; poorly developed interdigital glands in all four legs; and preputial glands. Both sexes have short, backward-curving horns measuring 12-16 centimeters (4.7-6.3 in); the sheaths have a series of transverse rings. Horns begin to develop at about four months and continue to grow throughout life.
Japanese serows are native to three of the four main islands of Japan: primarily northern and central Honshu, and small areas in Shikoku and Kyushu. These animals don't migrate and live in open grassland and forests; they prefer temperate deciduous forests, but also live in the broad-leaved or subalpine coniferous forest made up of Japanese beech Japanese oak, alpine meadow, and coniferous plantations.
Japanese serows are usually found solitary, in pairs, or in small family groups. They are active at dawn and dusk and use caves to rest. These animals are territorial, and mark trees with sweet-sour-smelling preorbital gland secretions to indicate their territory. Males and females establish separate, overlapping ranges and the male's territories are typically larger than the female's. Aggression between serows is rare but they may react with hostility to territorial breaches. Japanese serows are agile, sure-footed mountain dwellers that are able to sprint up mountains and jump from cliff to cliff to safety. Hunters even likened the agility of these animals to the ninja.
Japanese serows are monogamous which means that a mated pair stays together every year and raises their young. Breeding takes place once a year, between September and January. In a courtship ritual resembling that of goats or gazelles, the male Japanese serow licks the female's mouth, strikes her on the hind legs with his forelegs, and both sexes display Flehmen responses. during flehmening animal curls back its upper lip exposing its front teeth inhales with the nostrils usually closed, and then often holds this position for several seconds. A single kid is usually born between June and August after a gestation period of about 210-220 days. The kid stays with its mother for a year or two. It then moves gradually from its mother's range until it establishes its own territory. Young that do not disperse on their own may be chased away by the mother. Females reach reproductive maturity at 30 months of age and first breeding takes place at age 2.5-3 years.
In the mid-20th century, Japanese serows were hunted to near-extinction. In 1955 the Japanese government declared Japanese serows a "Special Natural Monument" to protect them from poachers. Populations started to grow and post-War monoculture conifer plantations created favorable environments for the animal. Foresters have raised concerns that the rising serow populations have interfered with post-War mountainside reforestation efforts, as the animal feeds on the saplings of Japanese cypress, Japanese cedar, and Japanese red pine, species with commercial significance. Serows have caused damage to farm crops in mountain villages, and the villagers have objected to conservationists' efforts. Damage by serows to forests has been characterized in parts of Japan in criminal or martial terms: the media have referred to the problems as ningen to shika no sensō ("the war between humans and deer") and kamoshika sensō ("serow war"). Currently, the Sika deer population is increasing throughout Japan in recent years, and undergrowth of forest is decreasing by the grazing and browsing, and the interspecific competition with Sika deer might affect serow population.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of Japanese serows is around 100,000 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.