Friday 17 May
Sumatran serow (Capricornis sumatraensis)
Sumatran serow fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Sumatran serow description
Belonging to a group known as the goat-antelopes, the Sumatran serow is a rather small-bodied animal (4), with dark upperparts and whitish underparts (2) (4). The hair of the coat is long and coarse, and a long mane of white, brown or black occurs on the neck (2) (4). Male and female serows are similar in appearance (4), with both bearing stout, slightly curved horns which can be used to defend themselves to deadly effect (2). The long ears are narrow and pointed, the face bears large scent glands below the eyes, and the tail is fairly bushy (2). A number of subspecies of serow were previously recognised, but are now considered full species. However, the taxonomy of the serow is not resolved and further research is needed (1) (5).
- Also known as
- mainland serow.
- Head-body length: 140 – 180 cm (2)
- Tail length: 8 – 16 cm (2)
- Shoulder height: 85 – 94 cm (2)
- 50 – 140 kg (2)
IUCN/SSC Caprinae Specialist Group:
- The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
- A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
IUCN Red List (March, 2010)
- Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
CITES (February, 2008)
- Macdonald, D.W. (2006) The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. (2005) Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Third Edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. Available at:
- Shackleton, D.M. (1997) Wild Sheep and Goats and their Relatives. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan for the Caprinae. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Sumatran serow biology
The Sumatran serow is generally a solitary animal, although it may sometimes move about in groups of several individuals (2). Each serow inhabits a small area which is well marked with trails, dung heaps, and scents (4). This small area of habitat is selected so it can provide all the needs of the serow, such as sufficient grass, shoots and leaves on which to feed on during the early morning and late evening, and suitable sheltered resting places in caves or under overhanging rocks and cliffs (2). This home range is defended against any intruding serows by using their dagger-like horns, which are also used by this rather aggressive goat-antelope to fight off predators (4).
Although less specialised for climbing rugged mountains than some of its relatives (4), and with a somewhat slow and clumsy gait, the serow is nevertheless adept at descending steep, rocky slopes (2), and is also even known to swim between small islands in Malaysia (2).
Serows are thought to mate primarily between October and November. The gestation period lasts for about seven months, with a single young usually born in the spring. Female serows usually reach sexual maturity at around 30 months, while males become sexually mature between 30 and 36 months of age (2).Top
Sumatran serow rangeTop
Sumatran serow habitatTop
Sumatran serow statusTop
Sumatran serow threats
Throughout its range, the Sumatran serow faces a number of significant and varied threats, the impact of each depending on location (6). The Sumatran serow is heavily hunted for its meat and fur, as well as for other body parts which are believed to hold some medicinal value (2). Habitat destruction poses a considerable threat, with logging and clearance for agriculture greatly affecting the habitat of the serow in numerous areas, and mining may impact the habitat of populations in Malaysia. In addition, serows can often become trapped in snares set for other animals (6). The serows of peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra are particularly threatened, having been greatly reduced in numbers and distribution through habitat loss and excessive hunting (2).Top
Sumatran serow conservation
The Sumatran serow occurs in numerous protected areas throughout its range (6), and is also listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), meaning that international commercial trade in this species is prohibited (3). However, more specific conservation measures may be necessary for this species’ long-term survival (6).Top
Find out more
To find out more about the conservation of the serow and other Caprinae species, see:
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.