The markhor is the world’s largest wild goat species, and is native to the mountains of Central Asia. Ever since the British colonized India, it has a been highly sought after by hunters. Unfortunately, wild populations have been declining for decades due mostly to local poaching for meat, deforestation and logging, military activities, and competition with livestock. By 2011, there were fewer than 2,500 wild animals remaining.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in an effort to encourage U.S. trophy hunting as a conservation method, reclassified the animal as “threatened,” rather than endangered, which allowed hunters to bring back trophies such as their horns. As a result, these splendid animals had rebounded enough by 2015 that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature upgraded the species from endangered to “near-threatened.” Their comeback is one of the world’s great but little known conservation success stories.
Huntable subspecies of markhor include: Bukharan markhor; Astor markhor; Kashmir markhor; Kabul markhor; and Sulaiman markhor.