Arabian Tahr


Scientific Name: Arabitragus jayakari

IUCN Conservation Status: Endangered

The Arabian Tahr, a goat-like mammal, endemic to the UAE. It is the smallest in the Tahr family, but its strength and agility should not be misjudged.

They live in the Hajar Mountains and Jabal Hafeet in Al Ain. These species can be found at high elevations (1,000 to 1,800 metres) on steep slopes where rainfall is relatively high and vegetation is fairly diverse. Because the Tahr has a limited geographic range due to water requirements this makes them more susceptible to extinction.

Unfortunately, the Arabian Tahr population is declining and these species are currently extremely endangered due to several reasons:

  • Intense overgrazing
  • Poaching, which is the illegal hunting or capturing of wild animals
  • Habitat loss and degradation due to construction of roads, buildings and mineral extraction – habitat fragmentation can isolate small groups of Tahr and ultimately threaten their survival due to limited genetic variation
  • Increased competition from domestic goats becoming feral, which means becoming wild, and searching or hunting for food within the Tahr’s habitat range
  • Climate change-related drought, further threatening the species as they are highly dependent upon a regular supply of water
  • Hunting – for meat and sport


Why are they important in the environment, natural heritage, to humans?

Tahrs are considered browsers, feeding on grass, shrubs, leaves and tree fruits. They also impact vegetation communities through their browsing. What’s interesting about the Arabian Tahr is that they are an indicator of the condition of their habitat, which means their presence helps determine the overall health of the ecosystem they live in. Their presence is important for Arabian leopards, which prey on them.

  • Perhaps the dwindling populations of Tahr, further endangered the survival of the Arabian Leopard due to their loss of a food source.


It’s important to recognize that we can help protect these animals through decisions in our every day lives.