The Biology and Management of Capricornis and Related Mountain Antelopes

pp 165-181

Behaviour of the Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus) at the San Diego Wild Animal Park

  • Judith K. BergAffiliated withZoological Society of San Diego, San Diego Wild Animal Park

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The designation of the Japanese serow as a ‘natural monument’ in 1934 and as a ‘special natural monument’ in 1955 gave this fascinating species of the subfamily Caprinae complete protection from legal hunting and capture (Akasaka 1974). Because of this protective status, only three facilities outside Japan are fortunate to house selected individuals of this species: the Peking Zoo in China, and the San Diego Wild Animal Park and the Los Angeles Zoo in the United States. The Wild Animal Park received a male and a female serow from the Japanese Serow Center, Gozaisho Mountain, Mie Prefecture, Japan. This pair was housed in an open-air mixed-species exhibit. However, due to the larger size of the enclosure and the elusive nature of the animals, very little was known about their behaviour, which created a concern to Park Management for their welfare. Therefore, in 1983, I undertook a project whose purpose was to determine the serows’ individual, interspecific, and intraspecific behaviour and their use of space at the Park.