A species of wild goat known as the markhor is returning to northern Pakistan. The return of the endangered species is attributed to the work being carried out by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
WCS has led surveys in the Kargah region in Gilgit-Baltistan which shows that the number of species has made a dramatic increase from just 40-50 in the early nineties to approximately 300 in 2012. The survey also shows that the total number of markhors in Gilgit-Baltistan has increased from 1000 to 1500.
The markhor is Pakistan’s national mammal and has been on the endangered list since the mid-1990s. In 2008 it was thought that there were only 2,500 of the species left; markhors still remain at threat from a number of factors including hunting and the destruction of their habitats.
As part of the conservation efforts by WCS, Program Manager Mayoor Khan is leading a program which has helped to create community conservation committees and trains wildlife rangers in Gilgit-Baltistan. The managers work to ensure that local and national laws are implemented and also work to stop the illegal hunting of the species.
Peter Zahler, WCS Deputy Director of Asia programs, said:
“We are thrilled that markhor conservation efforts in Pakistan are paying off.”