Food and feeding preferences of Himalayan gray goral (Naemorhedus goral bedfordi) in Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir

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Abstract

Himalayan gray goral is endemic to Himalayas and Hindukush ranges. Analysis of 15 fecal samples and field observations from different areas of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir suggest that goral consumes foliage of a minimum of 28 plant species. Trees, shrubs and grasses appear in the ratio of 1:36:63 and hence the species is a grazer, though may opt for browsing when forced. The species mainly subsists on six species of grasses (Chrysopogon aucheri=17.97%, Themeda anathera=13.03%, Poa pratensis=11.23%, Digitaria decumbens=9.30%, Apluda mutica=7.51%, Aristida cyanatha=3.15%), though leaves of shrubs (Myrsine africana=11.38%, Daphne oleoides=8.87%, Carissa opaca=5.94%, Dodonaea viscose=4.79%, Rubus ellipticus=2.93%, Gymnosporia royleana=1.29%) are also consumed. Food preference indices (consumed/availability) suggest that grasses are highly preferred (16.86 times of availability), followed by shrubs (3.3 times of availability), whereas trees and herbs are not preferred. Food plants contain water (77.9±0.56%), ash (8.6±0.38%), sugars (6.8±0.16%), proteins (5.6%±0.28%) and fats (1.3±0.08%). Food provides 4,440 kcal of energy and 5.45 L of water/day/adult goral, which is sufficient to meet the requirements of the species. Grasses need to be ensured in the protected area separated for management of goral population. Zoo Biol 27:371–380, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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