Markhor - National Animal of Pakistan
The markhor /ˈmɑːrkɔːr/ (Capra falconeri; Pashto: مرغومی marǧūmi; Persian/Urdu: مارخور), also known as the screw horn goat, is a large species of wild goat that is found in northeastern Afghanistan, northern and central Pakistan, India(only Jammu & Kashmir), southern Tajikistan, eastern Turkmenistan, southern Uzbekistan and in the Himalayas. (Markhor is primarily found in the mountains of Balochistan Province, Pakistan).
In most countries, national symbols are selected keeping in mind their maximum representation. Which could be why Markhor was honoured as our national animal. Its habitat covers Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Azad Kashmir.
There are several sub-species of Markhor in the country, categorized based on their horn’s shape and twisting pattern. One is the Afghan or Badakhshan Markhor, then there is the Suleiman or Balochistan Markhor. These species are further categorized into the Astor Markhor and Kashmir or Pir-Panjal Markhor, which have flare horns.
The widest spread species is the Kashmir Markhor. It has a significant population. An adult male of this species weighs 80 – 110 kg heavier as compared to other breeds of Markhor, and stands 39 – 41 inches tall.
As for the appearance, the males have a black beard while females have small chin tufts. In winters their coat hair grows long, while in the summer it sheds wool and the long hair by rubbing its body against rocks.
Data Source: Wikipedia & Geo News
Photos courtesy: WWF-Pakistan
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