This Goat’s Making a Comeback

The second animal of the double feature is this goat. It’s a Markhor, the national animal of Pakistan.

goat1Image By: Светлана

You might be able to tell, it’s a mountain goat.
A name that sometimes gets used in English is “screw horn goat”, I bet you can guess how they came up with that one.

They hang around up in the mountains of Central Asia Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan… you get the idea. Kinda near the Himalayas.

goat2Image By: Eric Kilby

What’s “cool” about these goats is that just a few years ago they were endangered, we were worried about them, but since then, they’ve recovered enough that we only consider them threatened.

It’s not the best, but it’s a step forward. Like we shouldn’t get too comfortable incase we forget what could have happened to these guys, and end back where we were a few years ago.

goat3Image By: Ralph

Why were they endangered in the first place? Basically hunting. They’ve some predators you’d consider a bit more natural, like snow leopards and wolves, but that kind of predation is what’s expected. What really endangered the whole species was humans doing hunting.

Humans are considered their main predator. It’s a bit weird, since they live in the mountains, humans have to go pretty far out of their way to hunt these guys. They’re big goats, so the could feed a lot of people, but sometimes they’re hunted for those horns.

goat4Image By: Vassil

We’ve had domestic goats for so long now you’d think we wouldn’t need to go hunting small wild populations.

There’s also loss of habitat. With deforestation and the like, there’s less places to hang out an eat. The fact that there are other goat species, like domestic goats, that they have to share their habitats with just makes things harder.

So, what turned things around? After a while people started to realise these goats needed a break. Some of the countries made hunting them illegal, some countries set up protected conservation areas.

Pakistan has set up a system, where they sell hunting licences for a big amount of money. They only sell 12, and the hunters go after older animals that aren’t involved in breeding. It’s a bit grim, but I guess it means the weirdos who want horns can still get them and it can finance the conservation efforts.

Whatever they’re doing over there, it seems to be working out for the markhor. Back in 2010, people were saying the markhor were experiencing a 20% decrease in population. These days it’s a 20% increase. Hopefully we continue to leave the goats be and they make the full recovery.

goat5Image By: Postdlf

It’s nice to see a species that was endangered find itself in a better situation. It would be nice if we could do that for all the animals. Though the more endangered they are, the harder it is to just stop hunting them and expect them to recover.

What’s your take? Does this example give you hope for other species to recover from the nasty spots they’re in? Do you know of other species that have come back from endangerment? Drop a comment below.

 

This post was more about their comeback. If you want to learn more about the goats themselves, check out these other websites.

Animal Corner

A-Z Animals

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