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Stone Zoo celebrates the birth of a markhor, an endangered mountain goat species

MarkhorbabyVisitors to Stone Zoo will notice a new furry face with the recent birth of a markhor, an endangered mountain goat species.

The female markhor, born on May 30, was walking within a half hour of birth and was observed nursing within 45 minutes of birth. Stone Zoo is home to seven markhor, two males and five females. The kid made her exhibit debut on June 6 and has already been demonstrating the incredible agility that is a hallmark of this species.

“The experienced mother is very attentive and is doing everything she should be doing. These animals are skilled climbers suited to rough, rocky terrain, and it’s amazing to observe the agility in the kid at such a young age,” said Pete Costello, Assistant Curator of Stone Zoo.

Zoo New England participates in the Markhor Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species. This birth is the result of a recommended breeding.

Markhors are native to the Himalayan Mountains. Their range includes northern India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and they can typically be found living around or above the tree line. The largest of the wild goat species, markhor have broad hooves and striking spiral horns that can grow to three feet long in mature males. These endangered species face a number of threats including hunting as well as competition for food. The long corkscrew horns that males develop as they mature are much sought after by trophy hunters. These animals are also competing against domestic livestock for food and water resources in their native habitat.

Zoo New England has supported a project in Pakistan that works with local communities to sustainably manage markhor and other wildlife.

Learn more about markhors in Stone Zoo's Animals section.

Photos courtesy of Dayle Sullivan-Taylor

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