Turkmenian Flare-horned Markhor at WCS’s Bronx Zoo

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A herd of Turkmenian Flare-horned Markhor (Capra falconeri hepterni) roams the rocky terrain in their expansive habitat along the Wild Asia Monorail at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo.

The herd consists of eleven males (easily identified by their huge spiraled horns and distinct coats), ten females (which are smaller than the males and have much shorter horns), and their offspring, which includes eight kids born this year.

The Markhor is a unique species of goat found in the mountains of Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. They inhabit upper elevations, with vegetation as their food source. They are skilled climbers and will scale steep rocky terrain to escape predators such as snow leopards and wolves.

The Bronx Zoo’s Markhor live with a herd of Himalayan Tahr, another species of Asiatic mountain goat found in areas of China, Tibet, Nepal, and northern India.

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4_Julie Larsen Maher_5649_Markhor and Kids_WAS_BZ_06 09 16Photo Credits: Julie Larsen Maher / WCS

Wild Markhor are threatened by human activity in the ranges where they live. Their impressive twisted horns and thick fur make them a target for trophy hunters and poachers. They are also susceptible to habitat loss from expansion of land used for domestic livestock, and from disease spread from the growing livestock population.

With support from US Ambassador Fund, Columbus Zoo Conservation Fund, and other supporters, WCS has been working to save wild Markhor in the mountains of northern Pakistan since 1997. Now working with 65 communities, WCS has seen a 70 percent increase in Markhor populations in the last decade, with estimates placed at 1,700 wild Markhor in this landscape—a significant proportion of the global population of this endangered mountain goat.

The WCS Pakistan Program’s recovery of Markhor in Pakistan has helped lead to the recent, nearly unprecedented two-stage down-listing of Markhor by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from an “Endangered” classification, passing the status of “Vulnerable”, to now being known as “Near Threatened”.

More great pics, below the fold!

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Hey, Kid! Markhor Baby Welcomed at Rosamond Gifford Zoo


The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York welcomed a baby Markhor on July 20.  Born to parents Edith and Sunny, the 5.8 pound female kid is the first Markhor born at the zoo in nine years.

“The Rosamond Gifford Zoo has long been committed to international Markhor conservation efforts,” said Ted Fox, zoo director. “We’ve been working on expanding our herd over the past year, and the addition of some younger animals is allowing us to make valuable contributions to the North American population.”

The Markhor is the largest member of the goat family, standing up to 45 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 250 pounds. There are several differences between the males and females of the species, with males having longer hair on the chin, throat, chest and shanks, and longer horns, which are up to five feet in length.



The Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan.  Its name comes from the ancient Persian words “mar” and “khor,” which translate into “the snake eater.” Although male Markhors have been known to occasionally stomp on snakes and kill them, they don’t actually consume the snake afterwards. Markhors are herbivores – the males are just protecting their harems (groups of females) from danger.

Photo Credits:  Amelia Beamish

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