|Scientific Name:||Capra falconeri (Wagner, 1839)|
Aegoceros falconeri Wagner, 1839
Three subspecies are recognized (Grubb 2005): C. f. falconeri (Wagner, 1839), C. f. heptneri (Zalkin, 1945), and C. f. megaceros (Hutton, 1842). Other sources have recognized C. f. jerdoni (Hume, 1875) and C. f. cashmiriensis (Lydekker, 1898). Schaller and Khan (1975) considered the former Astor Markhor (C. f. falconeri) and Kashmir Markhor (C. f cashmiriensis) to be one subspecies, the Flare-horned Markhor (C. f. falconeri) and Kabul Markhor (C. f. megaceros) and Sulaiman Markhor (C. f. jerdoni) to be one subspecies, the Straight-horned Markhor (C. f. megaceros).
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Near Threatened ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Michel, S. & Rosen Michel, T.|
|Reviewer(s):||Festa-Bianchet, M., Harris, R. & Zahler, P.|
|Contributor(s):||Ali Khan, A., Arshad, M., Bhatnagar, Y.V., Frisina, M., Hussain, S., Karimov, K., Lukarevskiy, V., Mohammad, G., Ostrowski, S., Uz Zaman, I., Valdez, R., Xoliqov, T. & Yasir Abbas, S.|
This species is assessed as Near Threatened: it nearly qualifies as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(i) as there are less than 10,000 mature individuals (estimated 5,808, based on our analysis of data from 2011-2013) and each subpopulation, except one, has less than 1,000 mature individuals. The largest subpopulation had an estimated 1,697 mature individuals in 2011. There is no observed, estimated, projected or inferred continuing decline of the total population. However, stable and increasing subpopulations are restricted to areas with sustainable hunting management and protected areas. Were these conservation activities to cease in the future, poaching would likely increase, possibly changing positive trajectories in these areas downward, and the species would then qualify as Vulnerable.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
This species is found in northeastern Afghanistan, northern India (southwest Jammu and Kashmir), northern and central Pakistan, southern Tajikistan, southwestern Turkmenistan, and southern Uzbekistan (Grubb 2005).
Native:Afghanistan; India (Jammu-Kashmir); Pakistan; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The criteria for Red List Categories refer to mature individuals, but most available population data present total numbers. Here we referred to these total numbers; and for the assessment we assumed that 60% of each population estimate were mature individuals, defined as “the number of individuals known, estimated or inferred to be capable of reproduction” (IUCN Standards and Petitions Subcommittee 2014). In the case of Markhor, this definition excludes kids and yearlings.|
The most recent data for most of the species’ range are from different time periods (2008–2014) and of variable quality, including information based on observations, estimates and educated guesses. Data from 2011-2013 are available for most areas, suggesting a total of about 8,800 Markhor. This number does not include some areas for which no data are available for that period. Based on older data and trends we assumed that in total approximately 900 Markhor existed in those areas, for a global population of about 9,700. We therefore assess the global population to be more than 5,800 mature individuals.
Capra falconeri falconeri
In Afghanistan, during a survey in April 1972, 37 Markhor were counted in the upper Alingar Valley, and numerous signs of presence and reports by local hunters were documented there and in the upper Alishang Valley, suggesting a viable population (Petocz 1972). In south central Nuristan Petocz and Larsson (1977) recorded 350 Markhor, but considered this number a small proportion of the local population. The observed sex-age structure indicated high reproduction and possibly a fairly stable population size or moderate decline despite hunting pressure. In contrast, in eastern Nuristan Petocz et al. (1977) found a dramatic decline caused by hunting. Camera surveys, hunter interviews, and participatory distribution mapping conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in south central Nuristan during 2006-2007 and 2008 (WCS 2008, Stevens et al. 2011) suggested that the species was still present in the area surveyed by Petocz and Larsson (1977) and that the occupied range area was still largely the same. Although a 370 km transect survey by the WCS team recorded only three individuals, information obtained from local hunters and the importance of the species as main object of hunting indicated a population at least in the range of up to a few hundred animals.
In India, a survey of the species October 2004 to April 2005 in the Hirpura and Kajinag areas of the Pir Panjal Mountains in Jammu and Kashmir, recorded 35 Markhor groups, comprising 155 individuals (Ranjitsinh et al. 2005). This count, as well as interviews with key local informants, indicated that 350–375 Markhor may have existed in the surveyed area of Jammu and Kashmir. This is slightly higher than earlier numbers of 200–300 (Schaller 1977, Fox and Johnsingh 1997), probably because earlier reports were incomplete guesses based on information from only parts of the Kashmir Valley. The taxon’s range had contracted from about 300 km² in the late 1940s to about 120 km² in 2004–2005. (Bhatnagar et al. 2009)
For Pakistan, population numbers are available for various time periods and for different locations. Areas were surveyed during different seasons. The numbers we present are based on differing methods (counts, estimates, guesses), and names, locations and borders of specific sites are not always clearly defined. Most recent numbers are available for 2011 and 2012, suggesting a total number of about 4,500 Flare-horned Markhor. More than 1,500 occurred in Gilgit-Baltistan (WCS 2012), 2,959 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (Iftikhar Uz Zaman pers. comm. 2014); and Arshad (2011) believed that in Azad Jammu and Kashmir approximately 50 Markhor existed. If these figures are correct, they indicate a substantial increase from the previous Red List assessment (Valdez 2008), when less than 2,500 to 3,000 Flare-horned Markhor were assumed to survive in Pakistan. Approximately 21 years before the current assessment (or about three generations), there were thought to be in total about 2,075-2,575 Flare-horned Markhor, including 1,075 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (NWFP 1992) and 1,000-1,500 in Gilgit-Baltistan (NA Forest Department unpubl. information 1993, reported in Valdez 2008). Thus numbers in Gilgit-Baltistan may have remained stable or increased, while the population in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa appears to have increased substantially.
Schaller and Khan (1975) assumed a total of at least 5,250 Flare-horned Markhor living in Pakistan and in India. Petocz (1972) and Petocz and Larsson (1977) counted 387 animals in Afghanistan. The total population number of the subspecies at this time was thus about 5,650 Markhor (about 3,380 mature individuals). Available data suggest that during the period 1985-1993, the total number for the subspecies might have been around 2,950 (1,770 mature individuals). Arshad (2011) assessed the total population number for “Kashmir” Markhor alone at 1,800–2,000 individuals. An educated guess, combining data from different areas, suggests that as of 2012, the total population of C. f. falconeri was close to 5,000 (i.e., about 3,000 mature individuals). Hence the total population of this subspecies apparently decreased from the early 1970s to the early 1990s, but since then it appears to have recovered.
Data for specific locations in Pakistan show varying trends of population numbers:
Capra falconeri heptneri
WCS staff surveyed parts of the potential range of C. f. heptneri in Northern Afghanistan in 2011. Due to security problems these surveys covered only small areas. The team observed four Markhor between Payan-e Moor and Aspakha Villages in the Kohe Ghaws area of Shahr-e Buzurg in Takhar Province. Local hunters believed that there were perhaps 20 Markhor left in this area. The interviews in Shahr-e Buzurg strongly supported the historical presence of Markhor in this district: 41 informants from northern and central Shahr-e Buzurg believed that Markhor were abundant in northern Shahr-e Buzurg during the 1970s. In the area between Dahan-e Ab Kof and Leiwgard Village in the Gandamargh Valley (Kuf Ab District in Darwaz, Badakhshan Province), the team observed six Markhor. Interviews with local hunters suggested that this area held approximately 80 Markhor (Moheb and Mostafawi 2011, 2012).
In the ex-Soviet republics, the total population was estimated to be about 1,000–1,200 animals in the 1970s (Zhirnov 1977), generally decreasing in the 1990s to about 700 animals (Weinberg et al. 1997a). However, Weinberg et al. (1997b), based on reports from game wardens and local inhabitants, believed the local population in Kugitang Strict Nature Reserve in eastern Turkmenistan increased during the mid-1990s.
Between 1960 and 1970, Zhirnov (1977) assumed that there were approximately 1,000 Markhor in Tajikistan, with the only viable population in the Kushvariston and Hazratishoh Mountains. In contrast, Sokov (1983, quoted in Baskin and Danell 2003) assumed that in 1967 only 500 remained in Tajikistan, decreasing to 400 by 1983. During the late 1980s in the Hazratishoh Range and in Kushvariston (Tajikistan) there were around 350 Markhor (Sokov 1989). Survey data from 2008-2012 (Michel et al. 2014) indicated that the subpopulation in the Hazratishoh and Darvaz Ranges of Tajikistan was stable and likely increasing, with a total of 1,018 recorded in 2012. A survey in 2014 recorded 1,300 in these areas (Alidodov et al. 2014) In the Sarsarak Range a separate population was rediscovered in 2014, with eight Markhor counted and about 30–40 reported by local hunters (K. Karimov pers. comm. 2014).
During surveys on the western (Turkmenistan) slopes of the Kugitang Range in 1995 and 2000, Weinberg et al. (1997b) and Lukarveski (2002) recorded 227 and 303 Markhor respectively. No recent information from Turkmenistan is available on the population number and trend of this subpopulation. Given the stable or slightly increasing numbers at the eastern (Uzbekistan) slope of the Kugitang Range, we assume that in Turkmenistan currently there are about 250 Markhor.
In the early 1980s there were 400 Markhor in Uzbekistan according to the Red Data Book of Uzbekistan (1983), but in 1994 there were only 270-290 estimated in Uzbekistan, with only 86 counted in the Surkhan Strict Nature Reserve (western slope of Kugitang Range) in May 1993 (Chernogaev et al. 1995). Survey data by the administration of Surkhan Strict Nature Reserve suggested an increase since a low in 2003 (140-150 recorded, 160–180 guessed), reaching its maximum at 310–313 animals in 2013 (Xoliqov 2013).
An educated guess, combining data from different areas, suggests that the recent (2011-2013) total population of C. f. heptneri was about 1,680 Markhor (1,008 mature individuals).
Capra falconeri megaceros
In Afghanistan, few animals survived even in the late 1990s, perhaps 50-80 in the Kohe Safi region, with a few in other isolated pockets (Valdez 2008). No recent information is available on the population numbers of Straight-horned Markhor in Afghanistan. The subspecies may be extirpated in the country, but potentially Markhor from Pakistan (e.g., Torghar hills) may cross into Afghanistan.
In Pakistan, population numbers for Straight-horned Markhor are well documented for the Torghar Hills (Baluchistan). Roberts (1969) believed that the main concentration of the Straight-horned Markhor was in the Toba Kakar and Torghar hills and numbers could have been less than 500. In 1984, Tareen estimated that fewer than 200 Markhor remained in the Torghar Hills (Mitchell 1989, quoted in USFWS 2012). The estimate by Frisina (pers. comm. 2014) of 1,684 for 1999 represents a substantial increase compared to Johnson (1997) who estimated there were 695 Sulaiman Markhor in the Torghar Hills in 1994. Rosser et al. (2005) summarized results from surveys that suggested Markhor in the Torghar Hills had increased to over 1,600 by the year 2000. Arshad and Khan (2009) presented an estimate of 3,158 Markhor in Torghar in 2008. M. Frisina (pers. comm. 2014) considered this estimate possibly biased, and based on a new, conservative analysis of these data, suggested revising this estimate to 1,729. The most recent population estimate of 2,829 in 2011 is from M. Frisina (pers. comm. 2014).
There is no recent estimate for Straight-horned Markhor in other areas in Pakistan, but we assume there to be about 200 C. f. megaceros in other areas of Baluchistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Schaller and Khan (1975) estimated 150 Straight-horned Markhor in the Takatu hills in 1971, but later Ahmad (1989) reported that only 50 still existed in these hills, and only 100 in the area of Koh-i-Sulaiman. In the Ziarat Mountains in Balochistan, Qadir Shah et al. (2010) recorded nine and Mazhar Liaqat (2013) counted 32 Straight-horned Markhor. The NWFP Forest Department (NWFP 1992) gave a total of only 24 animals for the whole province: 12 for the Mardan area, and 12 for the Sheikh Buddin National Park.
Although an accurate estimate of the total number of this subspecies is not possible, it can be assumed that with the population in the Torghar Hills estimated at 2,829 in 2011 (M. Frisina pers. comm. 2014) the total number might be slightly above 3,000 animals. In the 1990s this total was assumed to be around 870 (Ahmad 1989, NWFP 1992, Johnson 1997 quoted in Frisina and Tareeen 2009, Valdez 2008). Schaller and Khan (1975) estimated that more than 2,000 individuals remained throughout the entire range of Straight-horned Markhor in Pakistan. Roberts (1969) estimated that the total population of the former subspecies C. f. jerdoni, restricted mainly to the Province of Baluchistan, may have exceeded 1,000 animals, but that it was severely threatened because it survived in discontinuous and isolated pockets. For this same area, Schaller and Khan (1975) estimated fewer than 1,000 animals. Thus, over the past 20 years, numbers have recovered substantially, but this is known only for one area, the Torghar Hills.
|Current Population Trend:||Increasing|
|Habitat and Ecology:||Capra falconeri is adapted to mountainous terrain with steep cliffs, between 600 and 3,600 m elevation. The species is typically found in areas with open woodlands, scrublands and light forests. In Pakistan and India these are made up primarily of oaks (e.g. Quercus ilex), pines (e.g. Pinus gerardiana), junipers (e.g. Juniperus macropoda) and Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodora) as well as spruce (Picea smithiana) and fir (Abies spectabilis, A. pindrow) in certain areas. In Tajikistan the vegetation in the lower parts consists of open woodland and shrub communities with Pistachio (Pistacia vera), Redbud (Cercis griffithii) and Almond (Amygdalus bucharica); with increasing elevation juniper trees (Juniperus seravschanica), (J. semiglobosa), mixed with shrubs of maple (Acer regelii, A. turkestanicum), rose (Rosa kokanica), honeysuckle (Lonicera nummulariifolia) and Cotoneaster spp.. Markhor rarely use the high mountain zone above the tree line. Markhor are diurnal, but most active in the early morning and late afternoon. They alternate seasonally between grazing (summer) and browsing (winter), eating grasses and leaves. Females gestate for 135-170 days and give birth typically to 1-2 kids. The animals are sexually mature at 18-30 months, and live up to 12-13 years. Predators include Wolf (Canis lupus), Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia), Lynx (Lynx lynx) and on kids Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).|
|Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:||Yes|
|Movement patterns:||Altitudinal Migrant|
|Use and Trade:||See Use and Trade details under Threats.|
Capra falconeri falconeri
Within Afghanistan, Markhor have traditionally been hunted in Nuristan and Laghman, and this may have intensified during the Afghan wars since 1979. According to surveys by WCS in Nuristan during 2006-2007 and 2008 (WCS 2008), Markhor continue to be the most important game for local hunters (despite a nominal nationwide ban on hunting). Petocz and Larsson (1977) wrote that rangelands and forests were likely capable of supporting a higher Markhor population than that observed. They assumed that impact of livestock grazing on habitat conditions was limited because the number of domestic animals was restricted by the area's capacity to produce and store winter fodder, as heavy snowfall prevents winter grazing. Recent numbers of livestock are unknown for Nuristan, but recent increases associated with an expanding human population may create competition for forage (WCS 2008). According to a study using recent satellite imagery (Delattre and Rahmani 2007) no large-scale deforestation of the coniferous forests was observed in Markhor habitat in Afghanistan. However, the extent of deforestation for the last five years in a region affected by war and largely out of state control is unknown.
All subspecies and populations of Capra falconeri were uplisted from Appendix II to Appendix I of CITES in 1992. The 10th meeting of the Conference of Parties to CITES in 1997 passed a resolution (Conf. 10.15) allowing for an annual export quota of six Markhor trophies from Pakistan’s community-based hunting management areas to states parties to CITES. CITES increased the annual export quota to 12 in 2002, to further encourage community-based conservation (Resolution Conf. 10.15 (Rev. CoP 14)). The EU Scientific Review Group has expressed a positive opinion on the import of Markhor trophies from well-managed conservancies in Tajikistan (EU SRG 2014).
In India, Markhor is a fully protected (Schedule I) species under Jammu and Kashmir’s Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1978 (Ganhar 1979). Currently, Markhor in India occur in only three small protected areas: the Limber Game Reserve, and the Lachipora and Hirapora Wildlife Sanctuaries. Conservation measures proposed include:
In Pakistan, the Markhor is completely protected by federal law (Rao 1986). In 1991, the Federal government imposed a 3-year ban on all big game hunting. This ban officially lapsed in 1993 but practically remained in effect, although it was ignored in the case of community-based trophy hunting programs (Shackleton 2001). The central government has issued permits only where a community-based trophy hunting program has been established; as of 2000, 80% of the permit fees were mandated to go to the community and 20% to provincial authorities in charge of nature conservation (although inter-community and provincial-federal disputes over receipts and permitting have occurred). The program continued through 2013 with trophy price for Markhor increasing from US $ 18,000 to about US $ 80,000-100,000. According to official records, between 1998 and 2008 approximately US $ 830,000 was distributed to communities within the former NWFP from hunter remittances from the 17 Markhor taken during this period (A. Khan unpublished data, NWFP Wildlife Management, 2008). With higher trophy fees during the last years, significantly higher contributions to the local communities have created substantial incentives for the conservation of Markhor in the participating conservancies. However, the small number of permits issued by the government (up to 12 per annum in accordance to the CITES export quota) may prevent an extension of the approach into still unmanaged areas.
In Tajikistan, Dashtijum Strict Nature Reserve (zapovednik) with an area of almost 20,000 ha was established in 1973, but since the early 1990s poaching has become common, and the security situation deteriorated due to incursions by Afghans (Michel 2010, Moheb and Mostafawi 2011). Markhor are legally protected, but hunting by foreigners was permitted (at least two Markhor/year) in the early 1990s (Weinberg et al. 1997). For the hunting season 2013-2014 the Government of Tajikistan issued a hunting quota of six Markhor, and five were taken by foreign hunters. Hunts are restricted to conservancies established and managed by local small family businesses and community based non-governmental organizations. About 80% of the Markhor recorded by the recent survey (Alidodov et al. 2014) were in these conservancies. All captive Markhor in Dashtijum and Romit Strict Nature Reserves and the introduced animals in Romit were poached during civil unrest during the 1990s.
Proposed conservation measures include:
In Turkmenistan the species is legally protected. Markhor occur in the Kugitang Strict Nature Reserve (zapovednik), established in 1986 and covering about 27,000 ha. Lukarevsky (2002) suggested that ecotourism and trophy hunting may provide incentives for the conservation of Markhor. Weinberg et al. (1997) suggested enlarging the Kugitang Strict Nature Reserve because it protects only the high elevation summer habitat of Markhor and the currently unprotected lower winter ranges are grazed by livestock. Critical for any consideration of a potential trophy hunting programme would be the full involvement of local community members and a benefit sharing mechanism which would ensure their support.
|Errata reason:||The range map was mistakenly not published on the website and the map that was included in the PDF was missing the possibly extant polygons.|
|Citation:||Michel, S. & Rosen Michel, T. 2015. Capra falconeri (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T3787A97218336.Downloaded on 24 May 2018.|
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