Markhor

Markhor

Overview
The Markhor is a large species of wild goat
Capra (genus)
Capra is a genus of mammals, the goats or wild goats, composed of up to nine species including the wild goat, the markhor and several species known as ibex....

 that is found in northeastern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 (Gilgit-Baltistan, Hunza-Nagar Valley
Hunza-Nagar Valley
The Hunza-Nagar Valley, the Hunza-Nagar District, is the seventh district of Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan. The district comprises Hunza and Nagar. Sikandarabad is the administrative center of this district...

, northern and central Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and some parts of Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

), India, southern Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 and southern Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

. The species is classed by the IUCN as Endangered, as there are fewer than 2,500 mature individuals which continued to decline by an estimated 20% over two generations. The Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan.

The colloquial name is thought by some to be derived from the Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 word mar, meaning snake
Snake
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales...

, and khor, meaning "eater", which is sometimes interpreted to either represent the species' ability to kill snakes, or as a reference to its corkscrewing horns, which are somewhat reminiscent of coiling snakes.
As the folklore goes, Markhor has the ability to kill a snake and eat it.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Markhor'
Start a new discussion about 'Markhor'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
The Markhor is a large species of wild goat
Capra (genus)
Capra is a genus of mammals, the goats or wild goats, composed of up to nine species including the wild goat, the markhor and several species known as ibex....

 that is found in northeastern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 (Gilgit-Baltistan, Hunza-Nagar Valley
Hunza-Nagar Valley
The Hunza-Nagar Valley, the Hunza-Nagar District, is the seventh district of Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan. The district comprises Hunza and Nagar. Sikandarabad is the administrative center of this district...

, northern and central Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and some parts of Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

), India, southern Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 and southern Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

. The species is classed by the IUCN as Endangered, as there are fewer than 2,500 mature individuals which continued to decline by an estimated 20% over two generations. The Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan.

Etymology


The colloquial name is thought by some to be derived from the Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 word mar, meaning snake
Snake
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales...

, and khor, meaning "eater", which is sometimes interpreted to either represent the species' ability to kill snakes, or as a reference to its corkscrewing horns, which are somewhat reminiscent of coiling snakes.
As the folklore goes, Markhor has the ability to kill a snake and eat it. Thereafter while chewing the cud
Cud
Cud is a portion of food that returns from a ruminant's stomach in the mouth to be chewed for the second time. More accurately, it is a bolus of semi-degraded food regurgitated from the reticulorumen of a ruminant. Cud is produced during the physical digestive process of rumination, or "chewing the...

, a foam like substance comes out of its mouth which drops on ground and dries. This foam like substance is sought after by the local people who believe it is useful in extracting snake poison from snake bitten wounds.

Local names

  • Pashto
    Pashto language
    Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

    , Persian
    Persian language
    Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

    , Punjabi
    Punjabi language
    Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

    , Urdu and Kashmiri
    Kashmiri language
    Kashmiri is a language from the Dardic sub-group and it is spoken primarily in the Kashmir Valley, in Jammu and Kashmir. There are approximately 5,554,496 speakers in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Census of 2001. Most of the 105,000 speakers or so in Pakistan are émigrés from the Kashmir...

    : Markhor
  • Ladaki
    Ladakhi language
    The Ladakhi language , now also called Bhoti, and by linguists more generally called Western Archaic Tibetan when the Balti and Burig or Purig or Purki dialects are included, is the predominant language in the Ladakh region of the Jammu and Kashmir state of India, and is also spoken in Baltistan...

    : Rache, Rapoche (male) and Rawache (female)
  • Burushaski
    Burushaski language
    The Burushaski or Burushko language , is a language isolate . It is spoken by some 87,000 Burusho people in the Hunza, Nagar, Yasin, and Ishkoman valleys, and some parts of the Gilgit valley, in Gilgit–Baltistan in Pakistan and by about 300 Burusho people in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, India...

    : Halden, Haldin (male) and Giri, Giri Halden (female)
  • Shina
    Shina language
    Shina is a Dardic language spoken by a plurality of people in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan and Dras in Ladakh of Indian-Administered Kashmir. The valleys in which it is spoken include Astore, Chilas, Dareil, Tangeer, Gilgit, Ghizer, and a few parts of Baltistan and Kohistan. It is also spoken in...

    : Halden, Haldin (male) and Giri, Giri Halden (female)
  • Brahui: Rezkuh, Matt (male) and Hit, Harat (female)
  • Baluchi
    Balochi language
    Balochi is a Northwestern Iranian language. It is the principal language of the Baloch of Balochistan, Pakistan, eastern Iran and southern Afghanistan. It is also spoken as a second language by some Brahui. It is designated as one of nine official languages of Pakistan.-Vowels:The Balochi vowel...

    : Pachin, Sara (male) and Buzkuhi (female)

Physical description


Markhor stand 65 to 115 cm (25.6 to 45.3 ) at the shoulder, 132 to 186 cm (52 to 73.2 ) in length and weigh from 32 to 110 kg (70.5 to 242.5 ). It has the highest maximum shoulder height among the species in the genus Capra
Capra (genus)
Capra is a genus of mammals, the goats or wild goats, composed of up to nine species including the wild goat, the markhor and several species known as ibex....

, but is surpassed in length and weight by the Siberian Ibex
Siberian Ibex
The Siberian Ibex or Common ibex is a species of ibex that lives in central and northern Asia. It has traditionally been treated as a subspecies of the Alpine Ibex, and whether it is specifically distinct from other ibex is still not entirely clear...

. The coat is of a grizzled, light brown to black colour, and is smooth and short in summer, while growing longer and thicker in winter. The fur of the lower legs is black and white. Markhor are sexually dimorphic, with males having longer hair on the chin, throat, chest and shanks. Females are redder in colour, with shorter hair, a short black beard, and are maneless. Both sexes have tightly curled, corkscrew-like horns which close together at the head, but spread upwards toward the tips. The horns of males can grow up to 160 cm (64 inches) long, and up to 25 cm (10 inches) in females. They have a pungent smell, which surpasses that of the domestic goat.

Behaviour



Markhor are adapted to mountainous terrain, and can be found between 600–3,600 meters in elevation. They typically inhabit scrub forests made up primarily of oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

s (Quercus ilex), pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

s (Pinus gerardiana), and juniper
Juniper
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the...

s (Juniperus macropoda). Markhor are diurnal, and are mainly active in the early morning and late afternoon. Their diet shifts seasonally: in the spring and summer periods they graze, but turn to browsing
Browsing (predation)
Browsing is a type of herbivory in which an herbivore feeds on leaves, soft shoots, or fruits of high growing, generally woody, plants such as shrubs. This is contrasted with grazing, usually associated with animals feeding on grass or other low vegetation...

 in winter, sometimes standing on their hind legs to reach high branches. The mating season takes place in winter, during which, the males fight each other by lunging, locking horns and attempt to push each other off balance. The gestation period
Gestation period
For mammals the gestation period is the time in which a fetus develops, beginning with fertilization and ending at birth. The duration of this period varies between species.-Duration:...

 lasts 135–170 days, and usually result in the birth of one or two kids, though rarely three. Markhor live in flocks, usually numbering nine animals, composed of adult females and their young. Adult males are largely solitary. Their alarm call closely resembles the bleating of domestic goats. Early in the season the males and females may be found together on the open grassy patches and clear slopes among the forest. During the summer, the males remain in the forest, while the females generally climb to the highest rocky ridges above.

Subspecies and range


Currently, only three subspecies
Subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

 of Markhor are recognised by the IUCN:
  • Astor Markhor
    Astor Markhor
    The Astor Markhor or Flare-horned Markhor is a subspecies of the endangered markhor, native to Kashmir and northern Pakistan. To the west it reaches the easternmost parts of Afghanistan. The range of the Astor Markhor is very scattered. The largest population of only about 200 animals is found in...

    , Capra falconeri falconeri: Has large, flat horns, branching out very widely, and then going up nearly straight with only a half turn. Is synonymous with Capra falconeri cashmiriensis or pir punjal markhor, which has heavy, flat horns, twisted like a corkscrew.


Within Afghanistan, the Astor markhor is limited to the east in the high and mountainous monsoon forests of Laghman
Laghman
Laghman can refer to:* Laghman Province in Afghanistan* Laghman, a place in Jowzjan Province, Afghanistan* Lamian and variants thereof as soup...

 and Nuristan. In India, this subspecies is restricted to a portion of the Pir Panjal range in southwestern Jammu
Jammu
Jammu , also known as Duggar, is one of the three administrative divisions within Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state in India.Jammu city is the largest city in Jammu and the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir...

 and Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

. Throughout this range, Astor markhor populations are scattered, starting east of the Banihal
Banihal
Banihal is a town and a notified area committee in Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir, India. "Banihal" means blizzard in Kashmiri language.It has an average elevation of...

 pass (50 km from the Chenab river
Chenab River
The Chenab River چنRiver' آب) is a major river of Jammu and Kashmir and the Punjab in Pakistan. It forms in the upper Himalayas in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, India, and flows through the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir into the plains of the Punjab, Pakistan...

) on the Jammu-Srinagar highway westward to the disputed border with Pakistan. Recent surveys indicate that it still occurs in catchments of the Limber and Lachipora rivers in the Jhelum Valley Forest Division, and around Shupiyan
Shupiyan
Shupiyan or Shopian is a town in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is the administrative headquarter of the Shopian district.- History :...

 to the south of Srinagar. The Astor markhor there is restricted to the Indus
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 and its tributaries, as well as to the Kunar
Kunar River
The Kunar River is about 480 km long, located in eastern Afghanistan and north-western Pakistan. The Kunar river system is fed from melting glaciers and snow of the Hindu Kush mountains....

 (Chitral) river and its tributaries. Along the Indus, it inhabits both banks from Jalkot (Kohistan District) upstream to near the Tungas village (Baltistan
Baltistan
Baltistan , also known as بلتیول བལིུལ་ in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan which forms Gilgit-Baltistan, bordering the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. In addition, a part of Baltistan also falls into Jammu and Kashmir of India. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains...

), with Gakuch being its western limit up the Gilgit River
Gilgit River
Gilgit River is a tributary of the Indus River, and flows past the town of Gilgit. It is located in the Northern Areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The Gilgit starts from Shandur lake. The Gilgit River is also referred to as the Ghizar River....

, Chalt up the Hunza River
Hunza River
Hunza River is the principal river of Hunza, in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. It is formed by the confluence of the Kilik and Khunjerab nalas which are fed by glaciers. It is joined by the Gilgit River and the Naltar River before it flows into the Indus River.The river cuts through the...

, and the Parishing valley up the Astore River
Astore River
Astor River, a tributary of the Indus River and one of the rivers draining the Deosai Plateau, runs through Astore Valley. The river originates from western slopes of Burzil Pass.Astor river joins Gilgit River at coordinates .-External links:...

. It has been said to occur on the right side of the Yasin
Yasin
The Yasin anti-tank rocket launcher is a weapon developed by Hamas' Ezzedeen-al-qassam brigades named after the group's spiritual leader, Sheik Ahmed Yasin, who was assassinated by the Israeli Defense Forces on March 22, 2004...

 valley (Gilgit District
Gilgit District
Gilgit District is one of the districts of the federal territory of Gilgit-Baltistan in northern Pakistan. It was formed in 1970 when Gilgit-Baltistan was federally administered as the "Northern Areas". It is bounded by the Wakhan Corridor to the north; Xinjiang to the northeast and east; Skardu,...

), though this is unconfirmed. The flare-horned markhor is also found around Chitral
Chitral
Chitral or Chetrar , translated as field in the native language Khowar, is the capital of the Chitral District, situated on the western bank of the Kunar River , in Pakistan. The town is at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of the Hindu Kush, high...

 and the border areas with Afghanistan where it inhabits a number of valleys along the Kunar river (Chitral District), from Arandu on the west bank and Drosh
Drosh
Drosh is a town of Chitral District in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It is located at 35°33'29N 71°47'33E with an altitude of 1,100 m ....

 on the east bank, up to Shoghor along the Lutkho river, and as far as Barenis along the Mastuj River. The largest population is currently found in Chitral National Park
Chitral National Park
Chitral National Park is one of the national parks of Pakistan. It is located in Gol valley and Kafir Kalash land of Chitral District in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan beside the Chitral River, at a distance of two hours drive from Chitral city. The park is also known as Chitral Gol...

 in Pakistan.

  • Bukharan Markhor
    Bukharan Markhor
    The Bukharan Markhor or Tadjik Markhor is an endangered goat-antelope, native to Tajikistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, possibly also Afghanistan....

    , Capra falconeri heptneri.


Although the Bukharan markhor formerly lived in most of the mountains stretching along the north banks of the Upper Amu Darya
Amu Darya
The Amu Darya , also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers...

 and the Pyanj rivers from Turkmenistan to Tajikistan, two to three scattered populations now occur in a greatly reduced distribution. It is limited to the region between lower Pyanj and the Vakhsh
Vakhsh River
The Vakhsh has been intensively developed for human use. Electricity, aluminum, and cotton are the mainstays of Tajikistan’s economy, and the Vakhsh is involved with all three of these sectors. Hydroelectricity provides 91% of the country’s electricity as of 2005, and 90% of that total comes from...

 rivers near Kulyab in Tajikistan (about 70”E and 37’40’ to 38”N), and in the Kugitangtau range in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan (around 66’40’E and 37’30’N). This subspecies may possibly exist in the Darwaz
Darwaz district
Darwaz distrcit is a district in Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan. It is part of the historic region Darwaz which is now divided between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Darwaz District has a population of approximately 21,000 after sub-division in 2005 which led to the formation of Darwazi Bala...

 peninsula of northern Afghanistan near the border with Tajikistan. Before 1979, almost nothing was known of this subspecies or its distribution in Afghanistan, and no new information has been developed in Afghanistan since that time.
  • Kabul Markhor
    Kabul Markhor
    The Kabul Markhor or Straight-horned Markhor is an endangered goat-antelope native to Afghanistan and Pakistan within Pakistan it is the Provincial animal of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa....

    , Capra falconeri megaceros: Horns have a slight corkscrew, as well as a twist. A junior synonym is Capra falconeri jerdoni.


Until 1978, the Kabul markhor survived in Afghanistan only in the Kabul Gorge and the Kohe Safi area of Kapissa, and in some isolated pockets in between. It now lives the most inaccessible regions of its once wider range in the mountains of Kapissa and Kabul Province
Kabul Province
Kābul , situated in the east of the country, is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. The capital of the province is Kabul City, which is also Afghanistan's capital. The population of Kabul province is 3.5 million people as of 2009, of which almost 80 percent live in the urban areas...

s, after having been driven from its original habitat due to intensive hunting. In Pakistan, its present range consists only of small isolated areas in Baluchistan
Balochistan (Pakistan)
Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

, a small area in NWFP, and one unconfirmed occurrence in Dera Ghazi Khan District
Dera Ghazi Khan District
Dera Ghazi Khan is a district in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The district covers an area of 5,306 m² and it is a long narrow strip of country, 198 m...

 (Punjab Province). The NWFP Forest Department considered that the areas of Mardan
Mardan
Mardan , known as The city of hospitality, is a city and headquarters of Mardan District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan. It is the de facto headquarters of the Yousafzai tribe and the second most populous city in the province, located at 34°12'0N 72°1'60E and an altitude of in the south...

 and Sheikh Buddin were still inhabited by the subspecies. At least 100 animals are thought to live on the Pakistani side of the Safed Koh
Safed Koh
Spin Ghar or Safed Kuh or the Indian Caucasus, also known as the Safīd Mountain Range or Morga Range, is a mountain range on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, up to above sea-level at Mount Sikaram, straight and rigid, towering above all surrounding hills...

 range (Districts of Kurram and Khyber).

Relationship with the domestic goat


Certain authors have postulated that the markhor is the ancestor of some breeds of domestic goat. Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 postulated that modern goats arose from crossbreeding markhor with wild goat
Wild Goat
The wild goat is a widespread species of goat, with a distribution ranging from Europe and Asia Minor to central Asia and the Middle East. It is the ancestor of the domestic goat.-Social structure:...

s. Other authors have put forth the possibility of markhor being the ancestor of some Egyptian goat breeds, due to their similar horns, though the lack of an anterior keel on the horns of the markhor belie any close relationship. The Changthangi
Changthangi
The Changthangi or Pashmina goat is a breed of goat from Tibet or neighbouring areas in the Ladakhi Changthang, usually raised for meat or cashmere wool ....

 domestic goat of Ladakh
Ladakh
Ladakh is a region of Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state of the Republic of India. It lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent...

 and Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 may derive from the markhor. The Girgentana Goat
Girgentana Goat
The Girgentana goat breed takes its name from the city of Agrigento, Sicily where in the past there were present more than 30,000. Today, however, this breed is in danger of disappearance....

 of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 is thought to have been bred from Markhor, as is the Bilberry goat of Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. The Kashmiri feral
Feral
A feral organism is one that has changed from being domesticated to being wild or untamed. In the case of plants it is a movement from cultivated to uncultivated or controlled to volunteer. The introduction of feral animals or plants to their non-native regions, like any introduced species, may...

 herd of about 200 individuals on the Great Orme
Great Orme
The Great Orme is a prominent limestone headland on the north coast of Wales situated in Llandudno. It is referred to as Cyngreawdr Fynydd in a poem by the 12th century poet Gwalchmai ap Meilyr...

 limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 headland
Headland
A headland is a point of land, usually high and often with a sheer drop, that extends out into a body of water.Headland can also refer to:*Headlands and bays*headLand, an Australian television series...

 of Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 are derived from a herd maintained at Windsor Great Park
Windsor Great Park
Windsor Great Park is a large deer park of , to the south of the town of Windsor on the border of Berkshire and Surrey in England. The park was, for many centuries, the private hunting ground of Windsor Castle and dates primarily from the mid-13th century...

  belonging to Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

.

Hunting


In British India, Markhor were considered to be among the most challenging game species, due to the danger involved in stalking and pursuing them in high, mountainous terrain. According to Arthur Brinckman, in his The rifle in Cashmere "a man who is a good walker will never wish for any finer sport than ibex
Siberian Ibex
The Siberian Ibex or Common ibex is a species of ibex that lives in central and northern Asia. It has traditionally been treated as a subspecies of the Alpine Ibex, and whether it is specifically distinct from other ibex is still not entirely clear...

 or markhoor shooting". Elliot Roosevelt
Elliott Roosevelt I
Elliott Bulloch Roosevelt was the father of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt and the brother of US President Theodore Roosevelt. Elliott and Theodore were of the Oyster Bay Roosevelts. Eleanor later married their Hyde Park cousin and future US President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.Elliott was the third of...

 wrote of how he shot two markhor in 1881, his first on the 8th of July, his second in the 1st of August. Although it is illegal to hunt markhor in Afghanistan, they have been traditionally hunted in Nuristan and Laghman
Laghman
Laghman can refer to:* Laghman Province in Afghanistan* Laghman, a place in Jowzjan Province, Afghanistan* Lamian and variants thereof as soup...

, and this may have intensified during the War in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

. In India, markhor are still hunted for food near the Pakistani border. Markhor are still hunted for food and for their horns, which are thought to have medicinal properties, in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Markhor have also been successfully introduced to private game ranches in Texas. Unlike the Auodad, Blackbuck, Nilgai, Ibex, and Axis Deer, however, Markhor have not escaped in sufficient numbers to establish free-range wild populations in Texas.

Conservation status


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources has classified the Markhor as an endangered species, meaning it is in danger of facing extinction in the near future if conservation efforts are not maintained. Numbers between 2,000 and 4,000 exist in the wild.

In culture


The Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

.
It was one of the 72 animals features on the WWF Conservation Coin Collection in 1976. Markhor marionettes are used in the Afghan puppet
Puppet
A puppet is an inanimate object or representational figure animated or manipulated by an entertainer, who is called a puppeteer. It is used in puppetry, a play or a presentation that is a very ancient form of theatre....

 shows known as buz-baz
Buz-baz
The most common definition found in a web search describes Buz-Baz as "Ancient Persian - A showman who makes a goat and monkey dance together."Buz- baz is a musical puppetry tradition found in Northern Afghanistan. The puppet is a goat which is controlled by a string connected to the wrist of the...

.