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Stone Zoo has double the reason to celebrate with the birth of markhor twins, an endangered mountain goat species

Visitors to Stone Zoo will notice two new furry faces with the recent birth of markhor twins. Markhor are an endangered Asian mountain goat species.

The twins, both male, were born in the early morning hours on July 26. Both appear very active and are staying close to their mother. Stone Zoo is home to seven markhor, three males and four females. The kids made their exhibit debut on August 1 and have already been demonstrating the incredible agility that is a hallmark of this species.

“The first-time 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 kids 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 markhor.

Images courtesy of Dayle Sullivan-Taylor