The SOS-Save our Species-supported project implemented by IUCN Member the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, is proud to report a remarkable rebound in the markhor population. These results are largely due to conservation efforts focused on strengthening local institutions.
Community surveys led by WCS in the Kargah region in Northern Pakistan indicate a markhor population of roughly 300 individuals (up from 40-50 in 1991). These surveys suggest that the population in all of Gilgit-Baltistan may now be as high as 1,500 animals. This is a significant improvement from the last government estimate in 1999 which indicated the population as being below 1,000.
The markhor (Capra falconeri), Pakistan’s national animal, is one of the largest and most magnificent members of the goat family. In 2008 the global population was estimated at 2,500 animals extending over Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and India. The main threats to markhor in the region are illegal hunting, habitat destruction, and competition from domestic goats and sheep.
SOS – Save Our Species has been supporting a project implemented by WCS which consists of creating community conservation committees and training wildlife rangers in the region. There are now 53 established community conservation committees in the region. Each of these committees has a representative working with government officials in the Mountain Conservation and Development Programme to help co-manage the region’s wildlife and forests. WCS has recently developed a new management structure called “markhor conservancies” that use markhor herd home ranges to link different village committees together for coordinated monitoring and protection. This ensures that markhor are safeguarded as they travel across steep-sided mountains into different areas.
To find out more read the full press release.