This Amur (or long-tailed) goral - one of the rarest mountain ungulates - was captured by camera trap in the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Nature Reserve. This secretive species of goral, endangered within Russia and listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN, is found only in northeast Asia including the southern Russian Far East, the Korean peninsula, and northeastern China. Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve hosts about 180 individual animals - the largest single population of goral in Russia.
Like tigers and leopards, goral can be uniquely identified. Unlike the big cats, however, which are quickly distinguished from one another by their unique pattern of stripes or spots, gorals are identified by careful examination of the rings on their horns, which is not so simple. Research staff at the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve were the first in the world to develop such an approach for identifying individual goral.
Thanks to the unique design of their hooves, nimble-footed goral can easily gain traction on near-vertical cliffs, which provides them a safe environment to avoid carnivores who cannot follow.
WCS Russia has an on-going project studying small carnivores in Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve. Our staff set camera traps on various badger sites, including dens and latrines, to observe a behavior of those mustelids. Occasionally we are surprised by something unexpected when we review the photographs from our traps, and this goral walking past a badger den was a pleasant surprise indeed.