Markhor giving new life to wildlife in Pakistan

STAFF REPORT IBD: The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has announced that the markhor – a majestic wild goat species – is making a remarkable comeback in Pakistan due to the continued conservation efforts. The WCS-led community surveys have revealed that markhor population in northern Pakistan’s Kargah region in Gilgit-Baltistan has increased from a low of approximately 40-50 individuals in 1991 to roughly 300 this year.
These community surveys suggest that the total markhor population where WCS works in Gilgit-Baltistan may now be as high as 1,500 animals, a dramatic increase since the last government estimate of less than 1,000 in 1999.
Pakistan’s national mammal, markhor are known for their spectacular, corkscrew horns that can reach nearly five feet in length. They are an important prey species for large carnivores such as wolves and snow leopards.
“We are thrilled that markhor conservation efforts in Pakistan are paying off,” said Peter Zahler, WCS Deputy Director of Asia programmes. “Markhor are part of Pakistan’s natural heritage, and we are proud to be assisting the communities of Gilgit-Baltistan and the Government of Pakistan to safeguard this iconic species.”
WCS, led by Program Manager Mayoor Khan, has developed a conservation program that helps create community conservation committees and trains wildlife rangers throughout Gilgit-Baltistan.

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