Slippery slopes: Not so sure-footed

Markhor kid takes a tumble on slopes near Gilgit.

Shabbir Mir May 26, 2013
The two-year old markhor kid will be released to its habitat after recovery. PHOTO: RANA TAHIR


A two-year old markhor kid fell off a mountain in an adjoining valley in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), sustaining wounds on Sunday.

“The kid is wounded, but out of danger,” explained Dr Mayoor Khan, who heads the World Conservation Society (WCS), an NGO which works to conserve rare wildlife species in G-B. “It might have lost its footing and slipped due to the rain,” he added.

“The kid has been shifted to the wildlife department for treatment,” shared Dr Khan, whose team of experts has been working in the Kargah reserve for the past decade.

WCS volunteers Abdul Kadir and Azfar Ali first spotted the kid in an injured condition, and reported the incident to the WCS management in Gilgit.

“The fall occurred at about 1pm when the young kid slipped from a rock and landed alongside a water channel in Kargah valley, about 20 kilometres from Gilgit,” said Tashfeen Rafiq, a WCS member.

As the news spread, wildlife department officials and NGO workers rushed to the site to take the animal into their custody.

By the time officials arrived, a significant crowd from adjoining areas had already gathered to catch a glimpse of the elusive species. Markhor sightings under normal circumstances are quite rare and many posed with the kid for photographs, eager to capture the moment.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) put markhors on the endangered species list, which is reserved for those species which are at a high risk of extinction in the wild. But Dr Khan insists the markhor population is on the rise in the reserve he runs.

“There are about 300 markhors in the Kargah reserve as we have worked to protect the species with active support and cooperation of local communities,” maintains the WCS head.

Under the Trophy Hunting Programme, the fee to hunt a markhor is $40,000 in G-B. The programme was initiated in the 90s to discourage uncapped hunting of vulnerable wildlife and roughly 80% of the money earned goes back into the communities – a motive for locals to cooperate in the protection of endangered species. A total of four markhors can be hunted during the season which begins in October and ends in April.

Wildlife authorities said they would release the kid back to his habitat once it fully recovers.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2013.


Stranger | 8 years ago | Reply

Cuuuttte. Feels nice to hear stories about caring for animals in the sub continent where human life itself has less value.

Darjat | 8 years ago | Reply

Doc Mayoor Khan has great contribution in dessimination community based conservation approaches in GB. The breakthrough was made by Village Organizations in Bar, Khunjarab and Bagicha (BLN) area during mid 80's.

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