The population of Markhor has witnessed a remarkable surge in the picturesque landscapes of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Renowned for its agile nature, distinctive appearance, and imposing spiral horns, the Markhor holds a special place in the nation’s biodiversity. It is Pakistan’s national animal.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wildlife Department recently released a report heralding a substantial increase in the Markhor population, with numbers reaching an impressive 5,621 in the province. This surge is particularly significant given the species’ preference for the highest mountainous terrains, including regions in Chitral, Kohistan, and Kalam within Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as the northern Gilgit-Baltistan region.
The detailed breakdown reveals specific figures for Chitral, Kohistan, and Swat, indicating a population of 2,427, 660, and 159 Markhors, respectively. These numbers provide insights into the distribution and concentration of the wild goat species across different regions, shedding light on the success of conservation initiatives and the preservation of this iconic animal in Pakistan.
Likewise, in January 2023, the sighting of a rare Markhor in Chitral City generated considerable excitement among the local population. Subsequently, the male Markhor was successfully captured and released into a national park where hunting is strictly prohibited, as enforced by wildlife watchers.
One of the primary factors attributed to this population upswing is the heightened awareness surrounding the illegal hunting of Markhors, especially in the Swat and Kohistan regions. Conservationists credit the success to increased vigilance and strict measures against poaching, with a focus on safeguarding the natural habitats of these remarkable creatures.
The Markhor, with its long winter coat and majestic horns reaching lengths of over 1.5 meters in males, serves as a symbol of Pakistan’s rich wildlife heritage. Found in some of the most challenging terrains, the survival and prosperity of the Markhor are indicative of the country’s commitment to preserving its natural treasures.