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24 Jul 2012: Conservation Efforts Spur
Comeback of Pakistan’s Iconic Markhor

Markhor
©Grahm Jones/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
A male markhor
Conservation efforts in Pakistan have helped foster the resurgence of the markhor, a species of large wild goat found along cliff faces in the western Himalayas and known for its iconic corkscrew horns. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), roughly 300 individual markhors were found during a survey of the Kargah region in northern Pakistan’s Gilgit Baltistan territory, up from just 40 to 50 goats two decades ago. Across the entire Gilgit Baltistan territory, rangers counted more than 1,500 individuals, compared with fewer than 1,000 during a 1991 survey. Wildlife officials attribute the recovery to a series of conservation programs that include stricter enforcement of hunting and logging laws and efforts to monitor and protect the animals while they move between ranges. The WCS Pakistan program covers four districts and includes participation of 53 conservation committees.

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